Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills said Monday he was willing to take a wait-and-see approach with Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL but admitted the deal didn’t sit right with him.
Stills, who is among the players still kneeling during the national anthem to call attention to perceived racial injustice across the U.S., addressed the partnership with reporters during training camp.
“I can go on a list of things I felt like could have been done or handled in a better fashion,” Still said, according to a video from ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe. “I really don’t want to get into that but for the most part what I’m trying to say to people is that let’s work toward solutions. Let’s wait and see what goes down from this deal.”
Stills added: “You can’t really tell right now. It doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t think it was handled the right way but you never know.”
When the receiver was asked to elaborate, he explained that part of the issue was Jay-Z’s comments about moving past kneeling were a problem.
“I think that he could have reached out to Colin [Kaepernick]. He could have reached out to me. Some of the ways he answered his questions talking about we’re moving past kneeling like he ever protested. He’s not an NFL player. He’s never been on a knee," he said. "Choosing to speak to the people like he had spoken for the people and I think sometimes I notice that … I wonder how many common people he knows that he’s spoken to. I wonder if he’s ready my Facebook comments or my Instagram comments or some of the things that people say to me. To be able to speak on it and say we’re moving past something, it didn’t seem very informed.”
Stills, along with teammate Albert Wilson and Carolina Panthers defensive back Eric Reid, have knelt during the national anthem while Kaepernick – who started the movement in 2016 – has yet to be signed by an NFL team since he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
Kaepernick on Sunday urged the trio to “stay strong.”
Kaepernick's message came as Jay-Z and his agency Roc Nation decided last week to partner with the NFL on its entertainment presentations and Inspire Change Initiative.
When asked why he didn’t involve Kaepernick in the new Roc Nation-NFL deal, Jay-Z said: “You’d have to ask him. I’m not his boss. I can’t just bring him into something. That’s for him to say.”
Jay-Z also said he and Kaepernick had a conversation about the new deal but offered no other details.
Reid also criticized Jay-Z over the weekend, saying that the rapper claimed to be a Kaepernick supporter and now his reported desire to own an NFL team was “kind of despicable.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.