When he decided to lead a protest, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins knew people would be watching him.
But he admitted the feeling he got when he and three teammates raised their fists during the national anthem last night was something he didn’t expect, and that the idea of a teamwide demonstration began to feel inappropriate to him.
“It’s a lonely feeling,” Jenkins said, via Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com. “But I wouldn’t change anything. It’s definitely, you feel like you’re out there on the edge. You understand the consequences that will come, but at the end of the day, if your heart’s in the right place, it’s easy to do it.”
Of course, Jenkins was far from alone, as Ron Brooks and Steven Means were on either side of him, and Marcus Smith was standing elsewhere on the sideline. Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he had no problem with it.
“You immediately understand what the issue is when you see a black man raise his fist,” Jenkins said. “You kind of know what the topic is about. I wanted to make sure that was clear. It had nothing to do with necessarily disrespecting the flag or not representing the country. The issue is about the treatment of African Americans and minorities in this country, when you talk about social injustice.”
Jenkins said they discussed kneeling like 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but chose not to, and that the group demonstration wasn’t the direction the ultimately settled on.
“There were some other suggestions about doing some things as a full team,” Jenkins said. “But sometimes when you look at it and you want to create an impact, holding hands or locking arms doesn’t address the actual issue. Although it looks great because you’re all together, the honest truth about it, some guys on the team actually don’t care about the issues, which is fine. We wanted to make sure that whatever we did, if we were going to step out and stand up for something, that it was impactful and actually stuck to the message.”
Jenkins said he continued to plan to do the same thing in the future.