OXNARD, Calif. – Kenny Stills wants to know why more athletes aren’t standing with Colin Kaepernick.
The Miami Dolphins receiver has restated his questions from a series of tweets Tuesday questioning the support across sports for Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback currently out of football after his protests during the national anthem last season.
“I just feel like the league, it’s majority African-American, and you would think more people would come to have one of our guys’ back,” Stills said Wednesday.
“We talk about the NFL being a brotherhood,” Stills added. “They give us this presentation every year about the NFL being a brotherhood, and (if) something wrong is going on to one of your brothers, I feel like we should be there to have his back and speak up for him.”
Stills spoke after practice in Oxnard, where the Dolphins are spending the week ahead of Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. They travelled to the West Coast early due to Hurricane Irma’s devastation of South Florida.
Kaepernick spoke up against police abuses and racial injustices last season, sparking many players to join him in activism. Those players included Stills, who knelt during the national anthem along with three teammates.
Stills had previously said he won’t take a knee this year, but said Wednesday that he might re-evaluate his plans.
“It’s definitely something that I thought about, but I continue to think that the protest has been really divisive,” said Stills, who grew up in San Diego before attending Oklahoma. “I’m trying to do everything I can to get people on the same page. … I really want to bring people together, and I’m open to having conversations with people and trying and getting all of us on the same page.”
Those aren’t just postures to Stills, who has participated in public meetings with police and taken ride-along tours in an effort to find common ground. He is also a key contributor to the Dolphins’ offence with 42 catches for 726 yards and a team-leading nine TDs last season. Stills is expected to start for Miami this year after getting a four-year, $32 million contract extension in March.
Stills’ tweets Tuesday began with a series of questions, which he said were directed particularly at fellow athletes: “Why aren’t more players speaking up or protesting? Do you not believe there’s a problem? Do you not believe you can create change? Are you worried about sponsors or your contract? Do you not care?”
Stills asked why the NFL hasn’t released a statement condemning unarmed shootings of black people. He also asked why the NFL didn’t create “a positive narrative about Kap and what he started,” but instead stayed silent.
“How can we expect the league to care about something we’re not showing we care about?” Stills added.
Although he got plenty of online responses, Stills doesn’t think he got many from his fellow NFL players.
“I was really hoping to reach more players,” he said. “I don’t think many players wrote me back or responded, so that’s what it really was for: Hollering at the players. I wanted to see where their minds were at.”
Stills also said he was in contact with Seahawks star Michael Bennett, who claims he was racially profiled and had excessive force used against him by Las Vegas police officers last month.
“We’ve talked through text message, and we’re all just trying to be here for each other,” Stills said. “I feel like the narrative is kind of going the wrong way sometimes, and so, just to have each other’s back and support each other, and I’m really happy to see the things that he’s doing. I was kind of at a loss for words hearing what happened to him after the Mayweather fight, and so (I’m) just continuing to reach out to guys and letting each other know that we have our back, and the NFL actually being a brotherhood like we talk about.”
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