Kenny Stills Believes NFL Could've Saved Lives by Listening to Colin Kaepernick

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2020

Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills (12) kneels during the playing of the National Anthem before an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills believes the NFL could have saved lives if it listened to Colin Kaepernick's message. 

Steve Gardner of USA Today noted Still's comments come after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted he wished the league would have listened to Kaepernick earlier. Stills called the commissioner's comments "a nice gesture" and stressed how important it is to listen in the future.

"He can say whatever he wants to say now but in a sense, if we would have taken a more stern stance and he would have listened to us in the beginning of this, there would have been so many lives that could have been saved," Stills said. "I hope that we can do a better job moving forward of listening to our players, understanding our issues and then doing something about it."

Gardner pointed out it was the first time Stills spoke to the media since he was arrested and charged with a felony in July during protests calling for justice for Breonna Taylor.

While charges were eventually dropped, Stills and other protesters who gathered at Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's home were kept in handcuffs for 17 hours, per Gardner.

With worldwide protests calling for the end of systemic racism and police brutality making so many headlines after the killing of George Floyd, Taylor and many more, Goodell has made a number of public statements directly or indirectly referencing Kaepernick.

He joined Fox Sports' Emmanuel Acho for Acho's Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man video series and said, "I wish we had listened earlier, Kap, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to. We had invited him in several times to have the conversation, to have the dialogue. I wish we had the benefit of that. We never did."

Emmanuel Acho @EmmanuelAcho

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man: The National Anthem Protest- PT. 1 NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, & I discuss Colin Kaepernick & the protests during the national anthem that polarized America. https://t.co/PcL02732ys

The conversation with Acho comes after Goodell said in June the NFL was "wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest":


We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange https://t.co/ENWQP8A0sv

Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem as a means of protesting police brutality and systemic racism when he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

Despite leading his team to the Super Bowl and NFC Championship Game in back-to-back years during the 2012 and 2013 seasons and throwing 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions in 2016, Kaepernick has not signed with a team since he opted out of his contract. 

He filed a grievance in 2017 alleging that NFL owners colluded to make sure he didn't have a roster spot in the league. He and the league settled the grievance in Feb. 2019.