DAVIE, Fla. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills says his protests will continue, and that he’s committed to activism “forever.”
Stills met with reporters on Thursday, after a week that included a Sept. 11 meeting with veterans and a tweet from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida lauding him for his efforts.
The tweet said, “No
@NFL player does more community service than @KStills of the @MiamiDolphins. You don’t have to agree with how or why he has chosen to exercise the 1st Amendment before every game to acknowledge the hours he gives voluntarily, on his day off,to serve his fellow Americans.”
Stills is one of the Dolphins’ captains. He says there was a time when the backlash over his decision to kneel, from the likes of President Donald Trump and others, bothered him.
He says he no longer lets it affect him.
Stills was one of two NFL players who kneeled for the national anthem in Week 1 last weekend. Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson was the other.
“It’s not going to change,” Stills said. “Activism isn’t something you just kind of get involved in and then turn your back on it. Once your eyes are open to some of the things that are happening, you continue to work and try to grow and create change for the rest of your life. It’s something I’m committed to forever.”
Stills said the Dolphins, who had established a team policy during the offseason saying that players who protested on the field could be subject to a suspension of up to four games, have not tried to stop him from kneeling. The Dolphins’ policy and all NFL punishments for protests were put on hold as the league and union negotiate.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase chose the captains for this year’s team already, and Stills — just as he was last season — is one. It’s a clear sign that Gase has no problems with Stills’ stance, or his leadership capability.
“I think he’s been the most productive slot receiver the last two years in the NFL,” Gase said. “That’s nothing new to us.”
Stills met with reporters for about 10 minutes Thursday. There was one question about his two touchdown catches against Tennessee in Miami’s 27-20 victory.
The rest of the session revolved almost entirely around kneeling, not catching
Stills went to Miami-area VA Hospitals on Tuesday , along with Wilson and a few other members of the Dolphins organization. Some of the patients were moved to tears, and Stills said he spoke with several veterans privately — most of them understanding where his protests are coming from and what they are about.
“This has never been against the military or the flag or the police,” Stills said. “And so just for them to have the opportunity, for us to have the conversation, for them to approach me and say that, that meant a bunch.”
There are some, however — most notably, President Donald Trump — who insist on describing the kneeling and other similar actions, such as Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch staying seated for the anthem, as a protest of the flag.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)