Kenny Stills: 'No Beef' with Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross over Trump Fundraiser

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2019

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills stands on the field before a preseason NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills has said the relationship between him and team owner Stephen Ross is fine after criticizing Ross' decision to hold a fundraiser for President Donald Trump's reelection campaign.

"We agreed to disagree and that was it," Stills said, per Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post.

"There's not much to argue about," he added. "He has his feelings about it and he stands firm in that and I respect that. But I disagree and I told him there's no hard feelings. There's no beef and let's win some games this year."

Stills argued that supporting Trump and his platform was at odds with the mission statement of Ross' charity, RISE, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality:

Kenny Stills @KSTiLLS

🤔 You can’t have a non profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump. https://t.co/sNBWfEXvLn https://t.co/nNkRf2wJep

Stills has since stepped away from RISE, citing "everything that's kind of taken place from the time of the first protest all the way to now." He did say he would continue kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial discrimination and police brutality.

Even after meeting with Ross, Stills said he didn't regret publicly criticizing the fundraiser:

"I would do it the same. I definitely think from a professional matter, the right thing to do would have been to reach out to him first, but through conversations that we have and the history that we have, it gets to a point where I'm just a person that is sharing the message, letting other people know what's happening and it's not a secret. It wasn't a secret that it was happening, so I just was the messenger."

Ross hosted the fundraiser in the Hamptons, which included charging "$250,000 a pop from donors for a photo and private roundtable discussion with the president," according to William D. Cohan of Vanity Fair. And per Habib, the Republican National Committee reported that Ross' fundraiser and one other event the same night raised $12 million.

There was a major backlash following the fundraiser. Celebrity chef and restaurateur David Chang said on his podcast that it "contradicts what I hope to accomplish by taking your money in the first place," per H. Alan Scott of Newsweek. Ross is a backer of Chang's Momofuku restaurant chain.

Boycotts were also called against Equinox and SoulCycle. Ross is a passive investor in both companies and is the majority owner and chairman of the parent company for both operations, The Related Companies.