Miami Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores is taking a unique approach to motivate wide receiver Kenny Stills, who has been outspoken about the recent social justice partnership deal between Jay-Z and the NFL.
Flores defended his decision to play eight consecutive Jay-Z songs during Tuesday’s practice, a day following Stills’ comments criticizing Jay-Z and the social justice partnership with the league.
“It was a challenge to Kenny to perform regardless of whatever is going on outside,” Flores said, according to ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe.
“I would say, and I said this to him, he hasn’t performed up to that level over the course of training camp, or as I’ve seen. So that was the challenge — to get open, catch the football and make plays for this team, regardless of what’s going on outside of this building.”
Flores said he addressed the situation, and Stills, in front of the team.
“We talked about it in-house and he handled it in-house,” Stills said. “For the most part, I think it was him seeing if I could handle if people were going to heckle me or play Jay-Z in another stadium if I could be mentally strong enough to handle that sort of treatment. I’ve been dealing with this since 2016 — music, boos, racial slurs. So I don’t think a little Jay-Z music is going to ruffle my feathers that bad.”
Flores also stated that he was a bit surprised that anyone would question his support of Stills’ cause.
“Quite honestly, they’re bringing attention to my story,” Flores explained.
“I’m a son of immigrants. I’m black. I grew up poor. I grew up in New York during the stop-and-frisk era. So I’ve been stopped because I fit a description before. So everything that these guys protest, I’ve lived it, I’ve experienced it. So I applaud those guys’ protest. So whether it’s Kaepernick, or Eric Reid or Kenny, I applaud those guys. I told Kenny that in our meeting in front of the entire team.
“I don’t know how many people have, but I lived it. So I understand why guys protest. And it’s important. And you know what else is important to me? There’s 89 guys in that locker room who are counting on Kenny to get open, catch the football and perform for this team. That’s important to me. And if anybody’s got a problem with that, then we’ve just got a problem. We’re going to agree to disagree. I feel like that’s important, and that’s where I stand on this thing.”
“It’s just music,” Stills pointed out.