PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Malcolm Jenkins grew fond of Brandon Boykin. In fact, anyone who had come in contact with the former Eagles defensive back liked him. It’s why it was so hard for some to fathom where his comments came from in a text message to Comcast SportsNet’s Derrick Gunn shortly after hearing the news he was traded to Pittsburgh, when Boykin told Gunn that Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly is “uncomfortable around grown men of our culture,” implying that race could have been involved in the decision.
“He can’t relate and that makes him uncomfortable,” Boykin said in the text to Gunn. “He likes total control of everything, and he don’t like to be uncomfortable. Players excel when you let them naturally be who they are, and in my experience that hasn’t been important to him, but you guys have heard this before me.”
On Sunday, when Boykin joined the Steelers, he addressed the matter once again.
“When you’re a player, you want to be able to relate to your coach off the field,” Boykin told reporters at St. Vincent College, where the Steelers hold their training camp. “There were times he just didn’t talk to people. You would walk down the hallway, he wouldn’t say anything to you. I’m not saying he’s a racist in any way. I felt a lot of guys in that locker room feel the same way. Of course, when you’re in the organization, you’re not going to voice your opinion. For me, I’ve always been a guy of honesty. Not trying to put anybody out in any way, but if you’re honest with me, I’ll be honest with you, and I felt like that honesty wasn’t there all the time.”
It was hard for Jenkins to hear the news Boykin was gone. But it was hard for him to also hear about the text message sent to Gunn that went public.
“Brandon is excited about his opportunity to start and get on the field,” Jenkins said. “I think it’s much deserved for him. I think it’s a good deals from both ends. As far as the text message, to each his own. I can only comment on what I’ve experienced here, and it’s been exact opposite of what Brandon said. I think sometimes people get uniformity mixed up with not liking a certain culture. That’s the truth. I know Chip likes uniformity, and the individualism of football is sometimes taken away. I think that might be what people don’t like. Chip doesn’t like when individuals do things different than the team. And let me stress, that’s not Brandon. Not at all. Brandon could have a little swagger to them. But Chip wants uniformity that no one is bigger than the team. For me, what Brandon said hasn’t been the case.”