MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills is standing by his tweet which criticized team owner Stephen Ross for hosting a fundraiser for President Donald Trump in the Hamptons.
Friday’s fundraiser will be a high dollar affair. A fee of $100,000 gets an attendee a photo with Trump, while a fee of $250,000 gets them access to a roundtable discussion, according to the Washington Post.
Earlier this week, Stills tweeted an image of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, or RISE, home page.
The organization’s page references it “educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations.”
— Kenny Stills (@KSTiLLS) August 7, 2019
Stills added a caption that said it was hypocritical of Ross to create an organization that works to eliminate racial discrimination, yet also support President Trump.
“It just doesn’t make sense to me, it doesn’t align to running a non profit focused on equality and talking about sports and equality and then to be holding a fundraiser for a man that we know isn’t standing up for that same cause or championing that cause,” said Stills after the team’s preseason win over the Falcons.
When asked if his opinion had changed since the tweet, Stills said, “My thoughts really haven’t changed. The tweet is what it is. I said what I said.”
Stills went on to say while he’s been involved in RISE in the past, that’s changing.
“I’ve tried to distance myself from the RISE initiative, just based off of the gut feeling that I’ve had. I’ve done little things here and there, but I wasn’t included in the Super Bowl thing that they did, and it’s just something that I felt in my gut from the beginning, and so I tried to distance myself from RISE. I respect the work that they’ve done, but it’s just the things aren’t aligning for me, so I try to stay away from it.”
Stills said the Dolphins organization hasn’t commented about the tweet. Instead, he said, they told him to stay focused and make sure he performs on the field.
When asked if he thought Ross was an ally given what he was trying to do, Stills replied, “I think he’s trying to be, but I don’t believe that you can play both sides.”
“The tweet doesn’t put me against Mr. Ross,” he added. “I’m just trying to inform him that the two things don’t align. I don’t think it’s that complicated. I don’t have hard feelings toward him. There’s no beef. It’s just, hey, these two things don’t align and maybe somebody else hasn’t told you, but I’m letting you know. It’s important to me that the work that we’re doing isn’t just lip service. It’s real.”
In a statement Wednesday, Ross defended the fundraiser saying he agrees with Trump on some things and disagrees with him on others.
He said he is an outspoken champion of racial equality, diversity and other important issues.
Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel forcefully backed his boss describing what he does for the community…
“Stephen Ross is a good man. Stephen Ross has a big heart, he cares about the community here, he cares about people. This is a man who’s started a foundation, RISE, to fight racism and put millions of dollars into that initiative,” he said.
President Trump also weighed in on the matter.
“Stephen Ross is a great friend of mine. He’s a very successful guy. We were competitors but friends in the old days. He’s a great guy. He is, by the way, I think he’s probably more inclined to be a liberal.”