The Dolphins remain as dysfunctional as ever. Or maybe their new head coach is simply doing what Bill Belichick would do.
Regardless, one day after receiver Kenny Stills ripped Jay-Z for his decision to do a deal with the NFL without regarding to the ongoing unemployment of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the Dolphins dialed up eight straight Jay-Z songs at practice.
“I felt like he really discredited Colin and myself and the work that’s being done in our communities,” Stills said Monday. “I think he could’ve handled the whole situation differently. If he were to say, ‘I see the work that Colin and these guys have been doing, and I want to partner up with the league to further that work,’ it would have been totally different than some of the ways that he answered some of these questions.”
Various theories have been promulgated for the move, including whether coach Brian Flores was simply trying to help Stills deal with distractions created by the crowd at a game. Perhaps the more plausible reaction is that this is how Flores deals with distractions on his roster.
In New England, players don’t spend time at their locker criticizing business deals done at the league level. In New England, players have a narrow range of permitted subjects, to which they adhere with near-robotic precision. They do that in part because the Patriots target players who will do that. They do that in part because Belichick insists on it. They do that in part because they have witnessed what Belichick says and does to those who deviate from the permitted script.
In Miami, the latest Belichick disciple to become a head coach has a player who is willing to call out anyone and everyone, including the team’s owner. Flores didn’t seem to like that, and the Jay-Z playlist seems to be Flores’ way of expressing that publicly.
The more important question here is whether Flores wants Stills on the roster. The Dolphins owe him nearly $8 million for 2019, $3 million of which is guaranteed for now. As of Week One, the full amount becomes guaranteed as a practical matter. It will be very interesting to see whether Flores decides to keep Stills on the roster for the first game of the regular-season — and it also will be interesting to see whether other teams, cognizant of what’s happening in Miami, call the Dolphins about a possible trade.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether Stills wants to stay in Miami. One thing is certain: If Stills has any reservations about continuing to be a Dolphin, he won’t be afraid to say so.