Malcolm Jenkins Says Anthem Demonstrations About Reform, Not Protest

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2017

Philadelphia Eagles' Chris Long, left, and Rodney McLeod, right, put their arms on Malcolm Jenkins during the national anthem before a preseason NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins posted a video on Twitter Wednesday explaining that he is raising his fist during the national anthem this season "to take a stand for racial equality and a much-needed reform to our criminal justice system."  

Jenkins appeared in the video alongside recently retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin: 

On Tuesday, Jenkins and Boldin sat down with The MMQB's Jenny Vrentas and Kalyn Kahler (who also shot and produced the Twitter video) to discuss the positive effects anthem demonstrations can have. 

"That's where these demonstrations are useful, because regardless of how you feel about them, they keep that conversation going. Guys have gone back and forth as to if it is effective or not, or if it’s a distraction, but there is the awful truth that if we just go and do the work silently, it doesn’t get the attention that it needs. So whether you think it is a protest or a demonstration, really, it doesn’t matter. As long as we are keeping these conversations going long enough to redirect some of that attention to the work, to the actual call to action, it’s worth it."

Jenkins started raising his fist in Week 2 of the 2016 season and has pledged to continue doing so throughout the 2017 campaign

That included Week 2 of the preseason, when Eagles defensive end Chris Long placed his hand on Jenkins' shoulder during the anthem in a show of support for his teammate's stance. 

"His message was that more white men need to position themselves as allies," Jenkins said of Long's gesture, according to ESPN's Bob Ley

In terms of reform, Jenkins has been an advocate for repairing relationships between communities and local law enforcement in addition to pushing for new legislation regarding police accountability. 

"One of the areas that we've been focused on when it comes to community-police relations is just establishing that face-to-face relationship building," he said, per NJ.com's Matt Lombardo. "Bringing officers and community members around in a positive manner to break down some of the stereotypes that we have about each other."

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