The controversy over the protests during the National Anthem before games is clearly not going anywhere as far as the 2017 NFL season is going, despite Colin Kaepernick not being on a team. We have already seen Oakland Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch sit this weekend. Seahawks DE Michael Bennett did the same thing on Sunday night. One player who will stand during the anthem this year will be Dolphins WR Kenny Stills.
Stills alongside Michael Thomas followed Kaepernick’s lead and took a knee during the anthem. This season Stills says that he is shifting his activism to not protest during the games. This is what Stills told the Miami Herald:
“I just felt like, we’re getting more attention for our protests than we were for the actual work we were doing,” Stills recently told the Miami Herald. “Now, we need to focus on action, and I feel like I’ve done a lot of that last year. I’ve done everything I can here in this community and I’ll continue to do that this year.”
Stills has been very active in the South Florida community, which is why he won the Nat Moore Community Service award last season. Stills plans on pushing forward his community initiatives in 2017. Here’s some of what he did last year via the Miami Herald:
He, along with Thomas, Arian Foster and Jelani Jenkins, hosted a town hall meeting with community leaders, law enforcement and coaches. He helped fund a community tailgate with tickets and refreshments for each home game. And he took part in a ride-a-long with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, a program that four other NFL teams (the Jaguars, Giants, Vikings and Ravens) plan to follow in 2017.
The Ride Along program is a big deal since it’s expanding this season. Stills is going to of course face criticisms for protesting in the first place on one hand by some and ending his form of protest on the other hand by others. With that said, his clear message that he’s pivoting his advocacy towards community action is something that even his biggest detractors have to recognize. Especially if it has to do with building bridges between police and the communities they serve. It would be kind of hard and pointless to criticize Stills at this point.