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Kenny Stills will stand for national anthem this year

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills says he will not kneel for the national anthem this year because it distracts from the overall message.

We moved closer to a new season over the last few days as the first set of preseason games were contested around the league, but one of the storylines from last season remained part of the discussion.

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch and Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett both chose not to stand for the playing of the national anthem while Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills and safety Michael Thomas did stand after not doing so last season. Stills, who said in the spring that he wasn’t sure what he’d do this year, explained why he changed his approach.

“I just felt like, we’re getting more attention for our protests than we were for the actual work we were doing,” Stills told Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “Now, we need to focus on action, and I feel like I’ve done a lot of that last year. I’ve done everything I can here in this community and I’ll continue to do that this year.”

Stills was named the winner of the Dolphins’ Nat Moore Community Service Award last year for his efforts, which included a ride-along with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and hosting a town hall meeting involving players, coaches, law enforcement and members of the public. He said four other teams have adopted the ride-along program and hopes to have players from every team taking part in what he believes is an experience that helps foster closer ties to the communities their teams call home.