Video: Kenny Stills Critical of Jay-Z's Comments on NFL Being Past Kneeling

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2019

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) greets fans before the start of an NFL preseason football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Friday, August 16, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Jason Behnken/Associated Press

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills was critical Monday of Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter's partnership with the NFL and his comments on Colin Kaepernick and player protests:

"We've moved past kneeling, and I think it's time to go into actionable items," Jay-Z told reporters when asked about Roc Nation's entertainment and community outreach partnership with the NFL.

Some have felt it was hypocritical of Jay-Z—who was vocally supportive of Kaepernick in the past—to partner with a league that many believe has blackballed Kaepernick for protesting racial discrimination and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem in the 2016 season.

Jay-Z's comments didn't sit well with Stills, who said:

"Some of the ways he answered his questions, talking about we're moving past kneeling, like he ever protested. He's not a NFL player. He's never been on a knee. Choosing to speak for the people like he had spoken to the people. ... I wonder how many common people that he knows or has spoken to. I wonder if he's read my Facebook comments or my Instagram comments or some of the things people say to me. To say we're moving past something, it didn't seem very informed."

Stills and his teammate, wide receiver Albert Wilson, have continued to kneel during the anthem, along with Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, who has also been publicly critical of Jay-Z.

"I felt like [Jay-Z] really discredited Colin and myself and the work that's being done in our communities," Stills added. "What's fueling everything now is division. I wish it was handled in a different way."

TMZ Sports reported that Jay-Z was also seeking an ownership stake in an NFL team. A source told TMZ that Jay-Z desired to become a part owner "because he's a huge fan, already has a sports business and wants to continue to be a change agent for the NFL."

While there wouldn't be a conflict of interest if he becomes an owner, since he doesn't represent any players under the Roc Nation agency, Jay-Z facilitating a deal between Roc Nation and the NFL—before potentially becoming a part-owner himself—might further call into question the hip-hop mogul's motivations. 

Regardless, there has been support of the partnership. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, a member of the NFL Players Coalition, expressed optimism about the deal:

"To sit across from billionaires and talk about issues and why they should be important and why the NFL should be highlighting them, I think having somebody like Jay-Z, who can add to that conversation, who does these things on a daily basis and has a history of doing those things, helps us as players to have an ally like that. So I'm looking forward to seeing what that turns into."

The response to Roc Nation's partnership with the NFL was a reminder that Kaepernick—and how the NFL handled the protests he started—remains a passionate topic for people on both sides of the debate.

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