In Malcolm Jenkins’ locker there is a dry erase board with the words: “Today’s opponent: distractions.”
The Eagles safety and locker room leader Jenkins is always trying to make a statement — but he’s not trying to distract.
His play on the field speaks for itself as he’s proven himself among the best in the NFL at his position. His protest during the National Anthem prior to all 20 NFL games this season — continuing from last year — sometimes doesn’t speak for itself. Which is why Jenkins isn’t shy to speak up.
His steady fist in the air during the anthem was derived from Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee and protest the anthem during the 2016 regular season — a decision that has cost him a job in the NFL. Jenkins is one of many players disgusted with the NFL’s black-balling of Kaepernick, who is still unemployed. He’s also one of many players trying to draw attention to the racal issues that still remain in this country.
“The biggest thing for me is I have done a lot of work on criminal justice reform and the protest in itself is not the end all be all,” Jenkins said after the Eagles’ final official day of training camp. “It’s not something I’m looking at to actually make a big change which is why I went back and forth on whether to do it this year. But the one thing I didn’t want to do was stop expressing my thoughts and suddenly the conversation stops and you lose that momentum. It’s important to continue doing work behind the scenes but also keep the protest to change the minds of others.”
Jenkins says he talked to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie about the protest and that “he’s been very supportive.” He raised a fist pregame Thursday before the Eagles and Packers kicked off the preseason. He will do it again this coming Thursday when the Bills come to town.
Other NFL players protesting this season thus far include the Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks Michael Bennett.