Whatever the Eagles do during the national anthem on Monday night in Chicago, it won’t be a unanimous and uniform gesture.
Via Tim McManus of ESPN.com, several players have made their feelings clear on the matter: They won’t be joining in the protest, whatever it may be.
“Everybody has a right to protest and do what they feel,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “For me, I’m just going to stay neutral and continue to just keep working hard and focus on this year and football and trying to get the ring. I understand there’s a lot going on, but trying not to let it be a distraction on what’s the real kind of goal for this year.”
“Something like [locking arms], I’m good with, but as far as taking a knee or anything like that . . . I’m not going to put myself outside the team,” defensive end Bryan Braman said. “I’m a team player. If the team wants to do something, then I’m good with it. But if I feel like it’s disrespecting anything that I feel the national flag represents, I won’t be participating.”
Still, multiple Eagles will be doing something, with safety Malcolm Jenkins being the most vocal to date.
“We talked last week about doing some things, and there were some mixed emotions on the conversation,” Jenkins said, referring to the first Sunday of the season coinciding with the 15th anniversary of 9/11. “So this week I’ve really been to myself about it. And over the next few days, I’ll probably talk to a few guys who I know care about the topic and are passionate about it and weigh those options.”
Cornerback Ron Brooks is trying to balance the concerns that have caused players to not stand during the anthem with the importance of respecting the nation and the flag.
“I thought about kneeling but having my hand across my heart still and not actually standing up,” Brooks said, “because I don’t feel like everything is equal in the country and things do need to change, but still showing my patriotism and my appreciation for the people that have come before me and fought and gave their lives so that we can do what we do.”
Whatever happens on Monday night, Jenkins made it clear that statements will continue to be made on a league-wide basis, throughout the entire season.