8:58 AM ET
ESPN News Services
Stills told The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday that he and Ross spoke on the phone to discuss the wide receiver’s public comments that Ross couldn’t both claim to fight for equality and against racism and support Trump.
“There’s not much to argue about,” Stills told the newspaper. “He has his feelings about it and he stands firm in that, and I respect that. But I disagree and I told him there’s no hard feelings. There’s no beef and let’s win some games this year.”
Stills initially called out Ross and his RISE Foundation in a tweet Aug. 7. He followed up to defend his comments on Thursday, saying “someone has to have enough courage to let [Ross] know he can’t play both sides of this.”
The comments drew reaction from many, including Dolphins coach Brian Flores and Diahann Billings-Burford, the CEO of Ross’ foundation. Flores said Thursday that he respected Stills’ position but wished he had handled it privately. Billings-Burford told The Undefeated’s Jason Reid on Friday that the fundraiser created “difficult conversations” but that Ross must remain a part of RISE, which has goals to “eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations.”
Trump raised $12 million at a pair of fundraisers Friday, including the one hosted by Ross, according to the Republican National Committee. Prior to the events, the president praised Ross as a “great friend” and “very successful guy” and said the scrutiny would actually be positive for the team owner.
Following Stills’ tweet, Ross issued a statement saying he has been friends with Trump for 40 years and that while they agree on some things, “we strongly disagree on many others” and that he has never been “bashful” about expressing his opinions to the president.
Stills, who previously said he received death threats for his tweet, told the Post that he wouldn’t do anything different to make his perspective known.
“I definitely think from a professional matter, the right thing to do would have been to reach out to him first,” Stills said, “but through conversations that we have and the history that we have, it gets to a point where I’m just a person that is sharing the message, letting other people know what’s happening.”
ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe and The Associated Press contributed to this report.