September 25, 2017
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins took a not-so-thinly-veiled shot at Donald Trump a day after many NFL players, coaches and owners joined together to oppose the president's comments about national anthem protests.
Appearing on CNN Monday, Jenkins, who has been raising his fist in the air during the pregame anthem, rebuked the idea that players shouldn't hold demonstrations "on company time," as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested.
"We raise awareness for breast cancer for a whole month; we raise awareness for domestic violence and other things," Jenkins said. "So I don't see how we should somehow be quiet when we want to talk about racial inequality or any inequality, social justice."
Jenkins was joined by his teammates and owner Jeffrey Lurie with locked arms before Sunday's win over the Giants, a trend echoed across the league after Trump said team owners should fire players who kneel during the anthem.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a b**** off the field right now. Out! He's fired," Trump said at a political rally in Alabama on Friday.
Trump followed up his comments with several tweets disparaging the league and its players.
Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Jenkins, who was grateful Lurie joined him and his teammates on the field, said athletes have a responsibility to engage in difficult conversations.
"I think we have that unique ability to bring people from all races and creeds and backgrounds to the table in order to have a good time," Jenkins said. "And while we do that, we can enjoy the game, but let's talk about some of the things that are going on in our communities, especially in these NFL cities."
He also said he thought the president's comments were "dividing," adding that Trump's comments didn't acknowledge why players were protesting in the first place and what they're doing off the field to help the community, like Jenkins' own charitable foundation.
When asked whether Trump should apologize, Jenkins equated the president to angry online commenters.
"This is my ninth year in the NFL, and being at the forefront of this whole demonstration thing for the last year, I've grown very, very seasoned to internet trolls, and I've never once asked anybody on Twitter to apologize to me," Jenkins said.
When asked to clarify if he was calling the president an "internet troll," Jenkins certainly didn't deny it. He said the president's message hasn't been about understanding or unity, but instead was "strictly" about dividing people.
You can watch video of Jenkins' CNN interview below.
Malcolm Jenkins, NFL player, says Trump's comments are dividing the country. https://t.co/NGPfNrZxmC— Veronica Rocha (@VeronicaRochaLA) September 25, 2017