By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Brian Flores took over the Miami Dolphins head coaching job this offseason despite zero head coaching experience and zero years with the official title of a coordinator position. The Dolphins organization nevertheless believed in Flores to have the traits and abilities necessary to become the first great head coach to emerge from Bill Belichick’s coaching tree in New England.
Whether or not Flores succeeds in that endeavor won’t be known for some time, but the head coach on Tuesday made his first major move to draw national headlines. It didn’t involve a roster cut or a play call or a challenge flag, and it didn’t involve a comment made at a press conference or in an interview.
It involved Jay-Z.
The rapper/mogul/billionaire announced a partnership with the NFL last week, as he will now assist the league in scheduling musical acts and will also take an active role in some community programs.
That partnership has not come without critics, with Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills chief among them.
“It doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t think it was handled the right way,” Stills said Monday. “Some of the ways [Jay-Z] answered his questions, talking about ‘We’re moving past kneeling,’ like he ever protested. He’s not an NFL player. He’s never been on a knee. Just choosing to speak for the people like he had spoken to the people. … It didn’t seem very informed.”
Kenny Stills on Jay-Z/NFL paternship: "Talking about we're moving past kneeling like he ever protested… Choosing to speak for the people like he had spoken to the people… I wonder if he's read my Facebook/IG comments or what people say to me… It didn't seem very informed." pic.twitter.com/QGak3JKCcO
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) August 19, 2019
One day later, when the Dolphins took the practice field, Flores set out to send a message of some sort with his song choices, as the head coach chose eight Jay-Z songs to play consecutively at practice.
According to a team spokesperson, Kenny Stills knew the Jay-Z music was coming, and it wasn’t intended to challenge Stills’ stance on the rapper’s partnership with the NFL. I can’t speak to how @KSTiLLS received the Jay-Z tribute at practice. That would have to come from Kenny. pic.twitter.com/ThDamHx8RA
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) August 20, 2019
The exact intent of Flores’ music selection is not fully known, but it was very clear that the first-year head coach was trying to send some message to Stills.
We’ll find out in the coming days, weeks and months how well that message was received,