5 months ago
Amid the swirling controversy over NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest racial inequality in the country, one of them isn’t punting away his personal responsibility for his actions.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, who was pictured kneeling with several teammates during his team’s game last week in London, opened up to The Undefeated about his reasoning for his kneeling — a form of protest that has outraged many white football fans.
Stills is frustrated that the protests have been taken out of context, and his end goal is simple: “We have to get people to understand what racism is.”
That means getting people to diversify their friends and really try to understand other points of view.
“I’ve definitely been frustrated. I’ve had a lot of emotions, just about a lot of things I’ve seen, about what’s going on out there,” said Stills. “When you see some of the problems we have in the country, and things that have happened [historically], all people should be frustrated and want things to improve.
“Everyone should want to see positive change. Everyone should want to do everything they can to come together. And in a league that’s majority African-American, these are issues that are really important to our community.”
At first, Stills said he was inspired by then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests last season, which both kick-started a larger movement and may have cost the talented passer his own place in the league. (Kaepernick’s supporters believe it’s his politics, not his talent that has kept a team from signing the free agent.) But since, Stills has gone further: using his celebrity to speak to police to see how he can help make things better in his community.
“The NFL has such a big platform. And we know if the NFL supports something, if it supports a charity or a cause it believes in, we know how much attention those things get. The league does support so many things. The league reacts to so many things and then acts to help. That’s great.
“But the league didn’t react quickly to what we’re doing. It’s starting to react now because people are giving up their DirecTV and their season tickets. Now, the league is flustered.”
Stills is also frustrated that it took President Trump charging into the controversy like a blitzing linebacker to wake up a lot of NFL players to the issues involved.
“Whether you agree or disagree with what Kaepernick has done, he’s opened a lot of people’s eyes. You can’t deny that,” said Stills.