PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the biggest storylines of the start of the NFL season has been the protest taking place in some NFL cities, with players not standing for the National Anthem. They are are protesting the treatment and oppression of minorities in America.
The protest was started during the preseason by Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick has not stood for an anthem since and has been joined by teammates and players throughout the league, including Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos.
The protest has not played a part in an Eagles game to this point, but according to a key leader on the team, that could change soon.
On Friday, Malcolm Jenkins joined Glen Macnow and Jody McDonald on 94WIP ahead of their match up with the Bears on Monday Night Football.
“There has been league-wide discussion about this topic,” Jenkins said of the protest. “There’s a lot of guys that want to speak out and want to be a part of the movement, but just aren’t sure about which way they want to go about doing that.”
Jenkins made it clear that players on the Eagles, including himself, have strong feelings about the message behind the protest and have discussed taking part it in. “We got guys, especially myself, who feel very strongly about the topic and last week, we talked about doing some stuff, but we wanted to make sure that we didn’t do anything to take away from the folks, and the families that suffered from 9/11. We didn’t want to mess with that day.”
With that day behind us…”moving forward, I’m sure that there will be guys that will probably join in,” Jenkins said.
Will you be one of those guys?
“Most likely,” Jenkins said. He added that perhaps himself, and other members of the team, will “definitely,” do something to show their feelings toward the subject during the anthem on Monday night.
Jenkins understands the tension connected to the topic and clarified why he will take part in expressing his feelings. “For me, it has nothing to do with this country, or the flag, or the anthem itself. Really, it’s just to continue to push for the conversation about social injustice…that’s a range of things from police brutality to wages and job opportunities, education. It’s just a lot of things set up systematically in this country, since its inception, that really puts minorities, especially African-Americans, at a disadvantage.”
Jenkins says his hope is to keep that conversation going and to push it to as many people as possible. “The more players that join in, the further this conversation goes,” Jenkins explained.
The Eagles safety said that he discussed some of the player’s opinions on the topic with Coach Doug Pederson. “He was o.k. with it. He understands that we have the right to express our feelings and use our voices in whatever way we want to.”
In fact, Pederson told reporters on Saturday that he would participate if there’s a teamwide protest of the national anthem.
“If they want to do something teamwide, I’d definitely be for that. I think it just shows unity and there’s no division that way. I think it sends a great message, from our standpoint,” the coach said. “We love this country and what it represents and the flag and the national anthem and everything. Listen, we’re not perfect, obviously, and for us to stand sort of united that way, I’d be OK for that.”
So, what exactly will some Eagles players do?
“I’m not sure,” Jenkins said. “I still want to talk to some of my teammates.” He added that a decision has not been made as to whether or not they will do something as a team, or as individuals. “But, I doubt that we’ll have anybody kneeling,” Jenkins said.