The NFL and the NFLPA have yet to come to an agreement on a new anthem policy, and there’s a full schedule of games for the first time this week.
With that stage set, Eagles safety and leading player/activist Malcolm Jenkins said he hasn’t decided what he might do during the national anthem this week, but teased a major statement on the way.
“I’m not sure yet,” Jenkins said, via Marcus Hayes of the Philly.com. “I honestly haven’t thought about it.”
“I haven’t thought about it, either,” defensive end Michael Bennett said. “Ask me another day.”
That may not necessarily be the whole truth, because Jenkins added: “We will probably have an op-ed or something drop Wednesday.”
“We” would be the Players Coalition, suggesting that someone is trying to make a broader statement than one Malcolm Jenkins raising a fist or one Michael Bennett sitting during the anthem to bring attention to racial inequity and some fundamental unfairnesses of the criminal justice system.
As one of the leaders of the coalition, Jenkins didn’t think protests would be an issue this season — protestors had dwindled to an almost negligible number before the owners ham-handedly crafted a policy without any player input in May, allowing the President to return to one of his favorite pinatas and make it a thing again.
“It would have moved to a point where we were working together to draw some awareness to these issues and put some more action to the effort to amplify what players are taking about,” Jenkins said. “Talking out of both sides [of their mouth] on behalf of the owners has put players in a place where we don’t trust the league’s intentions, and we don’t trust the intentions of the owners. . . .
“Guys have been very active. Guys are starting to find different avenues, different ways they can contribute. People are beginning to see this is bigger than just the two minutes of the national anthem.”
That the owners created this problem for themselves makes it their problem, but it’s clear a large faction of players are going to have their say this week.