NFL Player Malcolm Jenkins Uses Signs & Silence To Send A Very Clear Message (Video)
Throughout the 2017-2018 NFL season, NFL players took to the field to line up against their opponents, not necessarily those awaiting the first whistle in different colored jerseys on the other side, but in a fight in activism against a multitude of atrocities and oppressive acts committed against the greater Black community in America, most prominently with police brutality.
First kicked off by the likes of San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem throughout the 2016 preseason and regular season, players across the league began to demonstrate in protest shown in many fashions, be it by kneeling, crossing arms together, or clenching a fist proudly in the air. About the initial incident, Kaepernick made a statement that resonated, one that still is being amplified by other players today, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The actions of Kaepernick and his predecessors set off a chain reaction of controversy, both for and against the protests from fans and media alike. In recent days, this subject led the NFL to begin fining players who kneel during the anthem on the field, deciding that players must stand or stay in the locker room, an action which was followed by formal grievances filed by Colin Kaepernick and former Niners teammate and advocate, Eric Reid.
Even more recently (June 5), Donald Trump made the decision to un-invite all members of the Philadelphia Eagles from a trip to the White House following their Super Bowl victory this February, a tradition, now broken, that began with the 1980 Pittsburgh Steelers who were joined by their hometown Major League Baseball team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the same trip. Trump’s decision came after hearing that many of the team’s members weren’t going to show up in the first place, reportedly due to the President’s stance on the protests themselves and his negative, racially charged epithets and tirades of the past.
In the wake of the Eagles’ rescinded invitation to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the team made itself available to questions from the media yesterday morning (June 6), and Eagles safety Michael Jenkins took to the cameras to say the most, without saying much at all. As reporters and media members began to ask the former Ohio State University standout questions regarding the White House visit, Jenkins held signs in response, with the first being, “You Aren’t Listening.”
Holding up eight different signs in total, Malcolm Jenkins made it known what the issues are. “More Than 60% of People In Prison Are People of Color,” read one. Another highlighted who activists within the NFL are and the diverse causes in which they fight for, giving credit to the likes of Chris Long, Ben Watson, Devin McCourty, Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, and a host of other players who are dedicated to the same causes that Kaepernick spearheaded two years ago. It should also be known that Jenkins was one of the leading voices in a conversation held with NFL owners about these very issues last October, in which the owners and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell promised to assist in their actions henceforth, to which Goodell said of the players and their concerns, “We want to help support you. Those are issues that affect us as well. They’re our issues also. We’d like to do it together.”
Jenkins’ signs and silence come as the NFL and its players continue to tackle these matters, whether it be separately or together.