Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas made a stand by taking a knee.
But a year after jumping into the charged national debate on racial injustice and police brutality, the Dolphins teammates appear to be changing their tactics.
Both players were on two feet, alongside the rest of their team, when the national anthem was performed before the Dolphins’ preseason game against the Falcons.
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“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 in 2016 won the Nat Moore Community Service Award for his commitment to that work.
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.
As for Stills? He will remain a voice for social change.
“[I’m] just continuing to do my work, one person at a time, one group of people at a time, one city at a time,” Stills said. “I'm really excited about the fact that we have other teams doing the ride-along this year. It's kind of like my goal to get one person per team in each city to be doing that. That's kind of the goal that we have. Just continue to work on an individual basis and hopefully I can influence people that I can make a [difference].”