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Pro-Trump NFL Owner Stephen Ross Trades Away Anthem Kneeler Right Before Regular Season

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The NFL’s regular season is set to kick off on Thursday when the Green Bay Packers travel to Soldier Field to play the Chicago Bears. For many NFL fans, these are the longest few days of the year as the drought of meaningful professional football is just about over.

This year, a flurry of roster transactions less than a week before the regular season begins has given NFL plans plenty to chew on before the Bears and Packers take the field.

Of those transactions, no two teams have been more active than the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans.

With the unexpected retirement of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, the Texans appear to be gunning for the AFC South title. They’ve made a flurry of “win-now” moves while also being forced to deal away disgruntled Pro-Bowl pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks. Clowney was threatening to hold out over a contract dispute.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, are very clearly in asset accumulation mode.

Do you think the Texans have any shot at winning the Super Bowl this year?

Instead of focusing on moves to help them win now, the Dolphins appear to be making moves to help shed salaries and acquire draft picks. They likely have their eye on a pair of star college quarterbacks: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence or Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.

So what happens when the win-now Texans and win-later Dolphins engage in trade talks? A blockbuster trade involving a medley of talented players and future draft picks.

The Texans likely got the two best players in the deal. Left tackle Laremy Tunsil gives a major boost to a porous Houston offensive line that left its franchise quarterback, Deshaun Watson, battered and bruised. Tunsil was clearly the big get for Houston, and the Texans better hope he lives up to being worth two first-round picks and a second-round pick.

But it’s the other player that Houston nabbed that is raising some eyebrows. Receiver Kenny Stills, one of the NFL’s last remaining anthem kneelers and close friend of Colin Kaepernick, was seemingly thrown into the deal. The Texans have no real need for a receiver, and already employ arguably the best receiver in football in DeAndre Hopkins.

Here’s a Miami Herald video of Stills kneeling for the anthem before a 2018 pre-season game.

So was Kenny Stills dumped into the trade because of the critical remarks he had made toward Dolphins owner Stephen Ross? The world will likely never know, but that hasn’t stopped social media from speculating that Ross got rid of Stills after the receiver bad-mouthed Ross over a fundraiser Ross hosted for President Donald Trump.

Stills had previously taken to social media to accuse Ross of hypocrisy for both founding a nonprofit, “RISE,” that promotes equality and also throwing a fundraiser for Trump.

Unfortunately for NFL fans who love drama, the Texans do not play the Dolphins this year.

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