When Kenny Stills knelt during the anthem two seasons ago in Seattle, Dolphins fans were given pause.
The angry chants on social media of not supporting the flag were heard loud and clear as was the Tannehill dime on a post route that was mysteriously dropped.
Stills, at the time was new to the Dolphins and the dropped pass early in the game gave the fans a chance to bash him saying he should not have knelt during the anthem before the game and lost his focus.
However, Kenny Stills is more than a football player.
After winning the Nat Moore Award for service in 2017, Stills followed that up with a deep look at communities in the South and Eastern United States.
To some outside of the Dolphins head quarters, Stills has been a mentor, a listener, one who walks with the poor and the marginalized, one who marches for justice, and a beacon of hope.
The call to march with the poor and marginalized was never so apparent than this offseason when Kenny Stills went on his own type of road trip, a pilgrimage of sorts through the East and through the South where he traversed the bridge in Selma, met with Colin Kaepernick, and worked hand in hand to understand the role of police officers in Miami Gardens.
Kenny Stills is in the news again, but as an ambassador to all Dolphins fans who’s goodwill extends from his persona on Twitter to his heartfelt and passion for his community and all communities across the nation.
Asked about the “anthem policy” as set forth by the NFL, this week during Training Camp, Kenny responded: by saying “Ways to create progress: Create a dialogue with those engaging in a peaceful protest you disagree with. Ask questions. Spark conversations. Ways to hinder progress: Ban the ability of someone you disagree with to peacefully protest.”
Bottom line, Kenny Stills would prefer there be “no anthem policy at all” and allow the players to do what they wish to do as he told the Miami Herald earlier this week.
In thinking about Stills’ comment, does it truly satisfy the thoughts of the hardworking police officer or service men and women who fight for our freedoms? That is, there are a strong group of folks who would rather see the player’s in the NFL stand for the anthem-that it is the proper thing to do.
The NFL is on some tricky ground right now. More of a double-edged sword-from the right and left of the political spectrum and the division on either side of that spectrum demonstrates there is a clear division in this issue and one wonders if that can divide a locker room in the NFL.
While the powers that be in the NFL figure out how to proceed, the fight for justice will continue as Kenny Stills will just keep on doing good honest work in each and every community setting an example as a leader.
Photo credit: Palm Beach Post