Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins furthered the conversation on the NFL protest without even speaking. Last week during the franchises media availability, Jenkins explained to journalists the reasoning behind why athletes like Colin Kaepernick chose to take a knee, by writing it on giant white poster boards.
On the poster board where statistics about the school-to-prison pipeline, mass incarceration, police brutality and NFL player’s efforts to thwart unsatisfactory practices in the justice system. Jenkins does this one week after the Eagles were supposed to visit the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl victory.
When Trump disinvited Philadelphia from the White House celebration, it was because of their different views on the National Anthem.
“[The Philadelphia Eagles] disagree with their president because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country,” Trump said in a statement.
NFL players has explained via Twitter how the National Anthem protest was not done to shun the military. Jenkins used silence and statistics to show how the protest is about the American justice system that has a long history of over policing people of color. Reporters in a scrum asked him questions in relation to the cancelled White House celebration, but he did not respond, only showing the cards one at a time.
One card noted how every year around 200,000 juveniles get charged as adults, often times for nonviolent crimes. Another showed how 439 people have been shot and killed by police since the beginning of the year. Black men made up a quarter of those deaths.
“Any given night 500,000 sit in jail. Convicted? No. Too Poor? Yes #endcashbail” one card stated.
Jenkins also expressed Kaepernick’s $1 million donation to organizations and called Josh Norman, Michael Bennett, and Richard Sherman among other NFL players “True Patriots” on the cards. A reoccurring card through his sequence entailed three words: “You Aren’t Listening.”
Jenkins has since published photos of the cards used during the media availability on his Twitter account with the caption “You Aren’t Listening!” The video of his quiet explanation had since gone viral, gaining millions of reviews.
It even was a topic of discussion in Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. The show’s host, comedian Trevor Noah, held up a sign stating “This Guy’s A Genius” in response to the cards with the audience cheering in favor of Jenkins.
The Super Bowl Champion safety wanted to show how NFL players were doing more than just protesting during the national anthem and how they were working to change regulations that hurt marginalized communities.
New Orleans Saints players Ben Watson and Demario Davis advocated for Louisiana House Bill 265, a bill that allows people who had convicted a felony to get their voting rights restored. The bill was passed last month.
Anquan Boldin, a 14-year NFL vet, joined forces with Jenkins to create the Players Coalition. The organization now consists of 75 professional and former football players with the goal of empowering disparaged communities and working on relations between police and civilians among other issues.
Defensive end Michael Bennett, who was traded to the Eagles in the offseason, commended his new teammate during his first day of practice in Philadelphia.
“Malcolm has put himself out there to be a great leader and a just a great person in general,” Bennett said. “He has so much integrity. Any time you take criticism for something you believe in, it’s always hard, but Malcolm is a great guy and he always does what he needs to do.”