President Trump has not criticized the N.F.L. in recent months, but he is still having an impact on the league.
On Wednesday, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills criticized his boss, Stephen Ross, who owns the team, for hosting a re-election fund-raiser for the president this weekend on Long Island.
Stills said that Ross’s support of the president is incompatible with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, or RISE, a nonprofit group founded by Ross to use sports to improve race relations.
“You can’t have a non profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump,” Stills wrote on Twitter.
The group’s mission statement says that it “educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations.”
A spokesman for the Dolphins declined to comment about Stills’s statement on Twitter.
While team owners have been criticized for their political leanings, particularly in the wake of the protests against police violence by Colin Kaepernick and other players, it is rare for players to openly criticize their bosses.
Stills, though, is one of the most outspoken players on social justice issues, and considers Kaepernick a friend. He was one of a handful of players who continued to kneel during the playing of the national anthem last season, long after Kaepernick played his last game. Stills has said he wants to shine a light on police brutality and economic inequality. A hero to some, he has been branded unpatriotic and ungrateful by others.
Many N.F.L. owners, Ross included, have made significant donations to Republican candidates. The owner of the Jets, Woody Johnson, helped Trump raise funds in the last presidential election cycle. Johnson, Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and E. Stanley Kroenke of the Los Angeles Rams were among the owners who contributed $1 million to Trump’s inauguration.
Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, is a close friend of the president’s, and was recently at a dinner at the White House.
Ross and Trump have known each other for decades. Both are major real estate developers in New York and elsewhere. Both owned teams in the United States Football League, which folded in 1985 after three years.
Stills, 27, started his career with the New Orleans Saints. He has played with the Dolphins the past four seasons.
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SOURCE : https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/07/sports/football/kenny-stills-dolphins-trump-ross.html