Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills isn’t backing down from his criticism of team owner Stephen Ross for hosting a fundraiser for President Trump while also leading an initiative to help fight racism through sports.
Stills has received five to 10 death threats since essentially calling his boss a hypocrite Wednesday on Twitter, according to the Palm Beach Post. But that didn’t stop him from reiterating his point while speaking to reporters for nearly 10 minutes Thursday night following the Dolphins’ 34-27 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons.
“I honestly don’t think it’s that big of a deal or that courageous,” Stills said. “It’s human being to human being. And it’s not right. I don’t want to associate myself with bad people and we shouldn’t want to be associated with bad people.
“And our country’s in a rough place right now and I think we could be doing more. I think there’s other candidates that he could support. It’s not about Democrat or Republican or any of those things. It’s literally about why. Why are you trying to help this man raise money to continue to do things that he’s been doing?”
The Dolphins’ billionaire owner has invested millions in the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, according to the Miami Herald. RISE’s mission statement says: “We are a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations.”
But Ross is also hosting a fundraiser for Trump in the Hamptons in New York on Friday, with ticket prices ranging from $5,600 to $250,000. Trump has been extremely outspoken against players, like Stills, who kneel during the national anthem before NFL games. He also has been criticized for comments widely perceived as racist.
“You can’t have a non profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump,” Stills said Wednesday in a tweet.
Ross released a statement later that day, pointing out that he has known Trump for 40 years “and while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others and I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions.”
“A reason for my engagement with our leaders is my deep concern for creating jobs and growing our country’s economy,” Ross stated. “I have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability, and I have and will continue to support leaders on both sides of the aisle to address these challenges.”
Stills told reporters Thursday that he hasn’t spoken to Ross about the matter but expects to do so at some point.
When that happens, Stills said, he will tell his boss “the same thing that I’ve already said: It just doesn’t make sense to me. It just doesn’t align to be running a nonprofit focused on equality and talking about sports and equality and then to be holding a fundraiser for a man that we know isn’t standing up for that same cause or championing that same cause.”
He added: “It’s not about politics. It’s never been about politics. It’s more just about the human being. I understand that some people think that you don’t say those types of things to your boss, but it’s just a human being. If you’re saying you’re going to be about something, let’s be about it.”