Midway through the entirely too long NFL preseason, the biggest dramas have all been off the field rather than on it.
Top running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon are holding out, receiver Antonio Brown threw a fit over having to wear a different model of helmet and a recently announced partnership between the league and rapper Jay-Z’s Roc Nation has sparked anger from the last few remaining anthem-protesting holdouts and their absentee ringleader, Colin Kaepernick.
One such player is Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills.
Stills, who protests by kneeling during the national anthem, took issue with Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, for saying, “I think we’re past kneeling and I think it’s time to go into actionable items.”
Earlier this week, it was announced that #JayZ & his team #RocNation will be partnering up with the #NFL. In a recent sit-down, he was asked would he kneel or would he stand? Jay-Z responded, “I think we’re past kneeling & it’s time to go into actionable items..” ?: @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/Zw2wUjYDIi
— As Told By | Blog (@AsToldByBlog) August 15, 2019
“He’s talking about, ‘We’re moving past kneeling,’ like he ever protested,” the disgruntled Stills told reporters in response to Jay-Z’s statement. “He’s not an NFL player. He’s never been on a knee. Just choosing to speak for the people like he had spoken to the people.”
“I wonder how many common people that he knows or that he’s spoken to. I wonder if he’s read my Facebook comments or my Instagram comments or some of the things that people say to me. To be able to speak on and say that we’re moving past something, it didn’t seem very informed.”
Kenny Stills on Jay-Z/NFL paternship: “Talking about we’re moving past kneeling like he ever protested… Choosing to speak for the people like he had spoken to the people… I wonder if he’s read my Facebook/IG comments or what people say to me… It didn’t seem very informed.” pic.twitter.com/QGak3JKCcO
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) August 19, 2019
On Tuesday, the music selection at Dolphins practice raised plenty of eyebrows.
Playlist to start Dolphins practice: “Show Me What You Got by Jay-Z, “Brooklyn We Go Hard” by Jay, “Ni**gas in Paris” by Jay and Kanye West, and “Run This Town” by Jay and Rihanna. All in a row. Would be an incredible coincidence after Kenny Stills’ comments about Jay yesterday.
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) August 20, 2019
Who selects the music that plays at Dolphins practices? According to the team, it’s first-year head coach Brian Flores.
Dolphins say Brian Flores picks songs for practice. Practice opened today with 8 straight Jay-Z songs, day after Stills questioned J-Z approach in new role with NFL. Flores hasn’t explained reasoning, but team said Stills knew in advance
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) August 20, 2019
So far the Dolphins have not given the reason behind the music selection.
But common sense seems to dictate one of two possibilities: Either Flores wanted to show Stills who’s in charge by sending a message to his receiver who has been dominating headlines, or it was some sort of attempt to get Stills ready to tune out crowd noise and distractions come game time.
Both options seem outlandish, but then again, so is this entire situation.
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