"It was a challenge to Kenny to perform regardless of whatever is going on outside."
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills is among those who have criticized Jay-Z in the wake of his partnership with the NFL. Earlier this week, Stills questioned comments Jay-Z made during the partnership's introductory news conference, and said he wished the hip-hop mogul would have reached out to him, or Colin Kaepernick, beforehand.
Just one day after Stills stated his opinion, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores decided to play a series of Jay-Z songs throughout practice in an effort to "challenge" the veteran wideout. On Thursday, following the team's 22-7 victory over the Jaguars, Flores explained his reason for doing so.
"It was a challenge to Kenny to perform regardless of whatever is going on outside," Flores said of playing the Jay-Z songs, per ESPN. "I would say, and I said this to him, he hasn't performed up to that level over the course of training camp, or as I've seen. So that was the challenge -- to get open, catch the football and make plays for this team, regardless of what's going on outside of this building."
According to ESPN, Flores addressed the team after the media picked up the story, and told the players that he supports Stills and the protest.
"We talked about it in-house and he handled it in-house.
For the most part, I think it was him seeing if I could handle if people were going to heckle me or play Jay-Z in another stadium if I could be mentally strong enough to handle that sort of treatment. I've been dealing with this since 2016 -- music, boos, racial slurs. So I don't think a little Jay-Z music is going to ruffle my feathers that bad."
The Dolphins will kickoff the 2019 regular season with back-to-back home games, starting with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, September 8, followed by a matchup with the division rival New England Patriots in Week 2.