DAVIE—The NFL players’ national anthem demonstrations have often been misconstrued as anti-police, though there is an element of their cause calling for police to treat all people fairly, but Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills never realized the negative impact that appearance has had on the officers themselves.
Stills participated in a ride-along with the North Miami Police Department this week, as well as a roundtable with law enforcement, and said he was surprised to learn about some of the blowback officers are getting.
“Really what took me back was hearing from police officers (that) they’ve been getting a lot of negative reaction,” he said. “So people see them and put their hands up, ‘Don’t shoot!’ And it started making the police feel like every one of them is a bad guy.
“We understand that every cop isn’t a bad cop, just like every NFL player that makes a mistake, we’re not all bad guys. And so they’re doing their best. So just telling the young kids, hey, if you see a police officer and you need anything, ask for help. Thank them for their service.”
Stills also came away from the event with a reinforced notion that the players’ and officers’ interests are actually aligned.
“Building trust with the law enforcement,” he said. “We want equality for everyone. … We’re all on the same page. They want to weed out the bad guys, the bad cops, and we want to make sure we’re holding everyone in the community to the same standard, basically.
“You’ve got to act right and do right, and the police will treat you with respect. And you treat them with respect and you’ll get it back. It was really important to get out there and share that message: If you’re not doing anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about.”
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