Rubio praises anthem-kneeling NFL player

NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are apparently OK with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, as long as they perform acts of community service away from the football field.

That was the message the Florida Republican appeared to be communicating Wednesday when he tweeted support for wide receiver Kenny Stills of the Miami Dolphins.

“No @NFL player does more community service than @KStills of the @MiamiDolphins,” Rubio tweeted. “You don’t have to agree with how or why he has chosen to exercise the 1st Amendment before every game to acknowledge the hours he gives voluntarily,on his day off,to serve his fellow Americans.”

Rubio’s message retweeted a Stills tweet, in which the player posted photos of himself joining other Dolphins as they visited disabled military veterans this week as part of the team’s “#CommunityTuesday” effort.

The hospital visit by the Dolphins players came two days after the team started the regular season at home with a 27-20 win over the Tennessee Titans.

Prior to the game, Stills and teammate Albert Wilson knelt during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” drawing praise from former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who initiated the gesture during the 2016 season as a protest against police brutality against minorities.

“My Brothers @kstills and @ithinkisee12 continue to show their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed!” Kaepernick wrote. “They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated. Their courage will move the world forward!”