Kenny Stills will continue to kneel during the national anthem with his hand over his heart to “continue drawing attention to the important issues we face as a society,” he said in a written statement Tuesday.
Stills and teammates Arian Foster, Jelani Jenkins and Michael Thomas jumped into a national controversy Sunday in Seattle by kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in protest of the treatment of black people by police.
Stills, a wide receiver in his second year with the Dolphins, had largely let Foster explain the thinking behind the demonstration. But on Tuesday, he decided to speak for himself.
His reasoning: To bring “awareness to social injustice.”
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Stills, who has come under fire by many for his decision to kneel during the anthem’s playing on Sunday, which was Sept. 11, said his demonstration was “in no way” intended to be a sign of disrespect.
“I love my country,” Stills said. “And I have the utmost respect for the servicemen and women who have — for hundreds of years — sacrificed on our behalf. It is because if them that we have the freedom to help give a voice to the voiceless.”
However, Stills said the time for solidarity is now, and to acknowledge that we “have to treat each other with more love and respect.”
Most significantly: Stills said the “overwhelming number of innocent people being killed right in front of our eyes is wholly unacceptable.”
Stills demanded justice for the victims of what he called “senseless acts.”
Stills did thank the “honest, hard-working” law-enforcement officers who “care deeply about protecting and serving communities.” But in the next sentence, he said the country could do more to protect its more vulnerable citizens.
Stills made clear that his protest will not end with last Sunday’s game. But he added that he would continue to put his hand over his heart to “honor the people who make our country so special.”
“Those who want us all to have the opportunity to enjoy our freedoms equally,” Stills continued. “Those who see the light in all of us.”
Stills added that his education on these issues will continue with the help of Stephen Ross’ RISE initiative, whose goal is to fight racism and foster civility.
“As we travel this path together, I’ll pay special attention to become a part of the solution in improving the relationship between law-enforcement officers and the communities they serve.”
Still was one of six Dolphins players to distribute school supplies to 100 Miami-Dade and Broward children in need at Dave & Busters in Hollywood on Tuesday.
DOLPHINS ADD LINEBACKER
The Dolphins wanted a thumper who can play meaningful snaps for them on defense from the linebacker spot. They also wanted to add a seventh linebacker. They added both Tuesday.
The team has signed free agent linebacker Donald Butler.
Butler, one of the top linebackers who came out of the 2010 draft and was picked No. 79 overall by San Diego, signed with Miami after working out for the team Tuesday. He was among multiple linebackers who tried out.
Butler was available after he was released by the Chargers in March 2016 after he played six seasons for that team. He was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals in July and released on the final cut to 53 on Sept. 3.
Butler, 6-1 and 242 pounds, has 238 career tackles, including seven career sacks. He has five forced fumbles and six career recovered fumbles.