Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills said he received death threats for criticizing his boss and owner of the Dolphins Stephen Ross for supporting Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, August 7, Stills sent a tweet about a fundraiser Ross threw on Friday in the Hamptons for Trump’s reelection campaign. The Business Insider reports the event raised $12 million.
At the same time, Ross has a foundation called RISE, and its goal is “to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relation,” based on its mission statement.
“You can’t have a non profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump,” tweeted Stills.
His message received plenty of backlash, and during a preseason postgame interview on Thursday, after the Dolphins beat the Atlanta Falcons, Stills said he received five to 10 death threats within 24 hours after sending the tweet.
Those threats came on top of those he’d already gotten, as he’s been speaking out against racial inequality for some time. Just like the Carolina Panthers’ Eric Reid, he’s one of the NFL players who kneels for the national anthem in protest.
“Someone has to have enough courage to let him know he can’t play both sides of this,” said Stills. “It’s something that I can look back on and say I made the right decision.”
“If you’re going to associate yourself with bad people, then people are going to know about it,” he continued. “I put it out there for everybody to see it. If you say you’re going to be about something, let’s be about it.”
Brian Flores, the Dolphins’ coach, said he respects Stills’ point of view but wished he would have spoken to the team owner in private.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have done it on social media, but I did,” Stills explained. “The tweet doesn’t, like, put me against Mr. Ross. I don’t have any hard feelings toward him. There’s no, like, beef. It’s just like, ‘Hey, these two things don’t align. And maybe somebody else hasn’t told you, but I’m letting you know.'”
“It’s important to me that the work that we’re doing isn’t just lip service,” he added. “It’s real. Everything that I do has been real from the very beginning.”
Ross issued a statement about supporting Trump earlier this week but didn’t name Stills specifically.
“I have known Donald 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.”
The Palm Beach Post reported Tuesday that at some point Stills texted Ross, and Ross called the player to iron out the matter.
“There’s not much to argue about,” Stills said to the newspaper after Tuesday’s practice. “He has his feelings about it and he stands firm in that and I respect that. But I disagree and I told him there’s no hard feelings. There’s no beef and let’s win some games this year.”