The NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles will likely be joining the protest of the national anthem during the team's Sept. 19 Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears, according to one of the team’s players.
During a Sept. 16 interview with Sports Radio WIP, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said he and other players on the team plan to join the silent protest started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers by not standing for the national anthem.
“There has been league-wide discussion about this topic,” Jenkins said of the protest, according to KYW. “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 said Eagles team members who want to take part in the protest chose to wait until after the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“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,” he said. “We didn’t want to mess with that day.”
Kaepernick began not standing for the national anthem during preseason games, and has continued his silent protest into the regular season.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told media in August, according to the NFL. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Jenkins has his own reasons for protesting during the national anthem.
“For me, it has nothing to do with this country, or the flag, or the anthem itself," he told WIP, via KYW. "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 said he has discussed some of the player’s opinions with Eagles coach Doug Pederson.
“He was OK with it," Jenkins said. "He understands that we have the right to express our feelings and use our voices in whatever way we want to."
Jenkins did not specify what he and his teammates plan to do in their protest during the game.
“I’m not sure [what we'll do]. I still want to talk to some of my teammates,” he said, adding that it has not been decided whether something will be done as a team or on an individual basis.
“I doubt that we’ll have anybody kneeling,” Jenkins said.