One of the players at the forefront of the movement that spawned protests during the national anthem (and who remains gainfully employed despite his activism) has spoken out in response to Wednesday’s effort by owners to take the anthem issue off the table.
“What NFL owners did today was thwart the players’ constitutional rights to express themselves and use our platform to draw attention to social injustices like racial inequality in our country,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said on Instagram. “Everyone loses when voices get stifled.”
Jenkins made it clear that the new policy won’t keep him quiet.
“While I disagree with this decision, I will not let it silence or stop me from fighting,” Jenkins said. “The national conversation around race in America that NFL players forced over the past 2 years will persist as we continue to use our voices, our time and our money to create a more fair and just criminal justice system, end police brutality and foster better educational and economic opportunities for communities of color and those struggling in this country. For me, this has never been about taking a knee, raising a fist or anyone’s patriotism but doing what we can to effect real change for real people.”
It’s also never been about “disrespecting” the anthem or the flag. But the new NFL anthem policy jumps to that conclusion, ignoring the important reasons underlying the protests — reasons that many in power apparently would prefer to ignore, along with the freedoms that Americans enjoy to do that which may not be popular or regarded by some as “patriotic.”