September 24, 2017
In response to President Donald Trump’s criticism of Colin Kaepernick and the protests by NFL players during the playing of the national anthem last week in a rally in Alabama, NFL teams throughout the league on Sunday held their own form of protest.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie released a statement last week, saying “The best of us lend our compassion and determination to the aid of others. Every day I see the genuine dedication and hard work of our players. And I support them as they take their courage, character and commitment into our communities to make them better or to call attention to injustice. Having spoken with our players, I can attest to the great respect they have for the national anthem and all it represents. We at the Philadelphia Eagles firmly believe that in this difficult time of division and conflict, it is more important than ever for football to be a great unifier.”
Malcolm Jenkins, one of the Eagle team leaders and one of their most vocal players when it comes to social issues, locked arms with his fellow teammates, as Lurie and Eagles’ executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman also joined in during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday’s 27-24 victory over the visiting New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field.
“All I want to do is use my platform to point those issues where social injustice is taking place,” Jenkins said. “In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we lock up more juveniles and sentence them to life without parole more than anybody in the world. That’s something we shouldn’t be proud of as Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians.
“But it can easily be fixed a lot of people don’t know that. That’s all I want to do is point to the voices of the people who fight for those issues every day. It’s not what I do. I go to practice every day and don’t go to these community groups and hear them. But I can bring them to the table and we can hear their voices. That’s all I want to do.
“Without these demonstrations, no one would know what’s going on inside the inner cities,” Jenkins said. “It would be easier if we had the support of teams and the NFL if it gets highlighted the special things our players are doing and the causes we have in these NFL cities. Until that happens, you’ll continue to see guys demonstrate to keep the conversation going and do the daily work.”
Speaking at the Alabama rally, Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a b**ch off the field right now. He’s fired.’”
It’s dialogue like that Jenkins wants to address. It was very important to Jenkins that Lurie joined the team on the field Sunday.
“This was a rallying point for people to get involved,” Jenkins said. “I think it was very important that Mr. Lurie was a part of this. I think it sends a message to players, to the fan base and anybody watching that these demonstrations of players standing up for communities aren’t looked at in a bad way that we’ve been depicted.
“Our teammates don’t feel that way. Our coaches don’t feel that way and the individual owners of these teams don’t feel that way about us. It’s time those people stand up and at least show support to the demonstration. We’ve been so caught up the last year of what’s right and what’s wrong and spend very little time talking about the issues. The unique role the NFL can play is drawing attention to those causes and changing the rhetoric into something positive and productive.”