Miami Dolphins: Brian Flores says Stephen Ross backs players
Dolphins coach Brian Flores said Friday that the players were the catalysts behind their social justice video and decision to remain in their locker room during the national anthem and that owner Stephen Ross supports their decisions.
“I talk to Steve about the video,” Flores said. “He was supportive. But look, it was directed at everyone. I think every individual in this country can do better. That’s players. It’s coaches. It’s owners. It’s media. It’s everyone. Everyone can do better.”
Players released the video Thursday that sharply criticizes the NFL’s response to players’ concerns, painting it as hypocritical, while calling on wealthy team owners to use their influence and wallets to “flex political power.” Dolphins players called the NFL’s steps “fluff and empty gestures" and “another publicity parade.”
The NFL plans to play both “The Star-Spangled Banner” or "Lift Every Voice And Sing," also known as the Black national anthem, before games, but Dolphins players say it’s not enough. Rather than kneel or pick one anthem over another, they decided not to participate in either.
“It was a player-driven decision that came from a lot of conversations about trying to find a way to voice their opinions,” Flores said. “It’s about issues that are important to the players, and we just decided to move forward with it. There are things that I’m supportive of as well. That’s why I joined in with them.”
Flores punctuates the video by appearing in the closing seconds.
“Before the media starts wondering and guessing, they just answered all your questions,” Flores says in the video. “We’ll just stay inside.”
Asked Friday if he agreed the NFL’s response has been insufficient, Flores said, “Nobody’s going to put words in my mouth about how I feel about this, that or the other thing. The video speaks for itself. I think we can all do better. I think we all know the situation in this country. We’ve got kids who can’t go to school because there’s no wifi. To me, that’s a major issue. Because I would have been that kid, growing up where I grew up.”
Flores said Kalen Thornhill, the Dolphins’ director of player engagement who oversees the social justice committee, helped spearhead production of the video. Players wrote down their concerns and Thornhill helped produce the final product.
“As they were putting it together, they know where I stand on a lot of these issues anyway, so I was asked to say a line and I said it,” Flores said.
It’s unclear what the reaction will be from other teams. In Thursday night’s NFL opener, the Houston Texans chose to stay inside during the anthems but the Kansas City Chiefs were on the field. There was booing during a pregame “Moment of Unity.”
“I don’t really have a reaction,” Flores said of the booing. “I think the moment of silence was for a specific reason and I think everybody understands that but at the same time there’s a game going on, so fans, they’re rooting for their team. You don’t know the specific reasoning behind why somebody’s doing something so I don’t try to create an issue or create division based off that one instance.”
As he was concluding his Zoom conference with reporters, Flores took a moment to honor his uncle, Darrel Patterson.
“I want to give a shout-out on 9/11,” Flores said. “He was part of Ladder 118 in Brooklyn. It was one of the first trucks to go in. He wasn’t working that day, so he lost a lot of his coworkers that day. You guys can shout him out for me, I'd appreciate it. Darrel Patterson.”