Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills criticized the team’s owner, Stephen Ross, for his plan to host a fundraiser for President Donald Trump. He told CNN he doesn’t mind the blowback he may receive.
That has included death threats.
On Thursday, following a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, Stills said he’s gotten “five to 10” death threats in the last 24 hours on social media for his stance.
“For me I’m trying to lead by example I’m trying to do the work that I feel like God has placed in my heart to do. If it comes with a little bit of kickback, that’s okay,” he told CNN’s Coy Wire in Miami Gardens, Florida.
At Thursday’s game, Stills also knelt during the national anthem.
Ross will host a roundtable luncheon Friday where attendees will pay up to $100,000 for a photo with the President and $250,000 to listen in on a roundtable discussion, according to the event invitation. Ross is a billionaire real estate developer who is the majority owner of the Related Companies, which oversees luxury gym Equinox Fitness and SoulCycle.
The luncheon has resulted in threats to boycott Ross’ Equinox and SoulCycle businesses.
Stills spoke out on Twitter on Wednesday, saying that Ross’ support of Trump does not align with the mission espoused by the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality.
He said he was “baffled” seeing the work that RISE did to eliminate racial discrimination and comparing it with the work that President Trump has done. He said he just didn’t see it aligning.
“There’s no hard feelings or beef between us but I think someone has to have enough courage to let him know that you can’t play both sides of this,” Stills said. “If you’re going to associate yourself with bad people then people are going to know about it.”
Ross said in a statement to CNN that he still champions inclusion.
“I have always been an active participant in the democratic process. … 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. … I have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability, and I have and will continue to support leaders on both sides of the aisle to address these challenges,” Ross said.
Stills hasn’t spoken to Ross about his tweet, he said. But even with the potential backlash, Stills says his comments were not meant to be divisive.
“Everything that I’ve done in my career is to bring people together. I’m not here to have any divisive conversations or get back in this back and forth about politics. It’s just about human beings and like loving and respecting each other and that’s not what we’re doing right now,” Stills said.