Philadelphia’s Malcolm Jenkins had indicated that he and some Eagles teammates would stage a Colin Kaepernick-style protest during the national anthem Monday night. Sure enough, the veteran safety, defensive back Ron Brooks and defensive end Steven Means were shown raising their fists before their squad took on the Bears on national television. Another defensive end, Marcus Smith, reportedly also raised his fist.
“For me, it has nothing to do with this country or the flag or the anthem in itself,” Jenkins told a Philadelphia radio station over the weekend. “Really it’s just to continue to push forward the conversation about social injustice, and that’s a range of things from police brutality to wages and job opportunities, education. There’s just a lot of things systematically that have been set up in this country since its inception that put minorities, especially African Americans, at a disadvantage when you talk about quality of life and actually growing in this country.”
Jenkins said that he and his teammates decided to wait until Week 2 of the NFL season to protest during the anthem because the Eagles’ first game was on Sept. 11. “We wanted to make sure that we didn’t do anything to take away from the families that suffered from 9/11,” he told the station. “We didn’t want to mess with that day, so we left last week alone.”
Kaepernick’s own means of protesting, one that has drawn great criticism as well as support, has been to sit or kneel during the anthem. Some members of the Dolphins have also been kneeling, while one Chief, cornerback Marcus Peters, and two Patriots, tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Devin McCourty, have raised their fists.
“I respect players’ decisions,” Eagles Coach Doug Pederson said Saturday (via Bleeding Green Nation). “Everybody has their right to either protest or whatever they’re going to do. Malcolm and I have talked about this, and it’s going to happen regardless of what I decide or say, and I respect the players’ decisions on it. The biggest thing is I don’t want it to become a distraction to the rest of the team, and that’s the biggest thing from my standpoint.”
Pederson added, “I know early on, when Colin did his thing, it might’ve been because of the shock and awe of what happened, but I think now that everyone has sort of embraced it and knows it’s going to happen, I think everybody is braced for it, so it won’t be a distraction.”
“I’m not anti-police, or anti-military, not at all, and I want to make sure people get that point,” Jenkins told PhillyVoice on Saturday. “Like I said, I’ve had multiple conversations with Philadelphia police. I have a lot of friends who have served in the military; my grandfather served in the military. By no means would I do anything to disrespect them. … The police are part of the solution.”
“The goal is also not to beat around the bush,” Jenkins added. “If it comes down to making somebody uncomfortable by speaking the truth, then I’ll always make you uncomfortable with the truth, [rather] than make you feel comfortable with a lie. … When you’re trying to change anything, there’s no comfortable way to change anything, and so if somebody gets upset, it’s probably because they’re not listening.”
(H/T SB Nation)