Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, who took serious issue with team owner Stephen Ross for his support of President Donald Trump, was traded on Saturday to the Houston Texans.
Stills was part of a trade that occurred on the day NFL teams were required to reduce their rosters to a league-mandated 53 players. Star left tackle Laremy Tunsil, seen by many as the best player on the Dolphins, was also part of the deal. In exchange, Miami got two first-round draft picks, a second-round pick, offensive tackle Julién Davenport, and cornerback Johnson Bademosi, according to Fox News.
Stills had criticized Ross for putting on a fundraiser for President Trump, and took a shot at rapper Jay-Z for his partnership with the NFL to launch a new apparel line to fund social change.
The move was seen by critics on the left as being disrespectful to former NFL player and hard-left activist Colin Kaepernick. The rapper said “we’ve moved past kneeling” to “actionable items.”
The day after Stills’ criticism of the rapper, Dolphins African-American head coach Brian Flores played eight straight Jay-Z songs during a practice, calling it a challenge to the player to improve his performance despite outside distractions.
“I would say, and I said this to him, he hasn’t performed up to that level over the course of training camp, or as I’ve seen,” the coach said. “So that was the challenge, to get open, catch the football and make plays for this team, regardless of what’s going on outside of this building.”
Flores also said that he supports players who protest by taking a knee because he has “lived” what they are protesting.
“So I understand why guys protest. And it’s important,” Flores added. “And you know what else is important to me? There’s guys in that locker room who are counting on Kenny to get open, catch the football and perform for this team. That’s important to me. And if anybody’s got a problem with that, then we’ve just got a problem.”
#Dolphins coach Brian Flores says he challenged Kenny Stills with Jay-Z playlist, says he supports kneeling players and their protest because “I lived it.” Strong stance by Flores following fiasco this week. pic.twitter.com/cDY6JKbVP1
— Safid Deen ???? (@Safid_Deen) August 23, 2019
As for the fundraiser, Stills said Ross was being hypocritical in supporting President Trump because the mission statement of his non-profit, RISE, spoke of “equality” and the need to “eliminate racial discrimination.”
“You can’t have a non-profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump,” the player tweeted, as training camp was in full swing.
— Kenny Stills (@KSTiLLS) August 7, 2019
Interestingly, the Miami Herald reported that a revolt was brewing in the Dolphins locker room if Tunsil was traded.
“The backlash would be amazing,” a source was quoted as saying. “Guys would legit revolt.”
According to the newspaper, players want the Dolphins to financially take care of their own and the trade “might be a bridge too far for a locker room.”
In March, Miami traded defense end Robert Quinn to the Dallas Cowboys.
Quinn, a nine-year player, has raised a fist in protest during the national anthem since 2016 when he was with the Los Angeles Rams.
But the Cowboys team owner has been clear about his stance on such protests — the team, billed as “America’s Team,” has yet to have any protests during the national anthem.
“We want to recognize the social issues that Robert wants to make people aware of,” Jones told KXAS-TV. “But the Cowboys stand for the flag when we get ready to play football.”
When asked about whether he plans to continue his protest, Quinn had a surprising answer.
“One day, I woke up and just said, ‘If you want to bring positivity into the world, you’ve got to find peace, love and happiness within yourself.’ If you live by peace, love and happiness, this can be a better world,” he said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
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