SBD/August 11, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins Plans To Continue Raising Fist During Anthem This Season

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Jenkins raised a fist above his head for all but one game last season
Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins "raised a fist over his head during the national anthem prior to Thursday's preseason opener" against the Packers and "plans on continuing his demonstration" through the '17 season, according to Tim McManus of ESPN.com. Jenkins in a statement said, "Last season, I raised my fist as a sign of solidarity to support people, especially people of color, who were and are still unjustly losing their lives at the hands of officers with little to no consequence. ... As the blowback against those who stand up for what is right thickens, I feel it is necessary to push forward with a relentless determination. I want to send a message that we will not easily be moved or deterred from fighting for justice." McManus noted Jenkins "raised a fist above his head for all but one game" last season -- the season opener on Sept. 11 "out of respect for those who served and died on that day" in '01. Jenkins said that he plans to "demonstrate in the same fashion this season." It "unclear if any of Jenkins' teammates will join him." Jenkins' move last season was in support of Colin Kaepernick, who has indicated that he will "stand during the national anthem this upcoming season" if he is on a roster (ESPN.com, 8/10). In Newark, Matt Lombardo notes Jenkins has been "one of the more active members of the Eagles in terms of fostering better relations between minority communities and law enforcement over the past two years." Jenkins was "among a group of NFL players who met with members of congress on Capitol Hill last year to discuss potential criminal justice legislation reform with lawmakers" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/11).

GIVE THE MAN A CHANCE: Kaepernick remains unsigned, and in Austin, Cedric Golden writes Kaepernick is without a job because league owners -- a "collection of billionaires who don't take too kindly to uppity employees -- have apparently come to the conclusion that there is no place for the quarterback in the NFL." It is the latest sign politics and football "don't mix." Golden: "Sad as it sounds, had he beaten up a woman and thrown her on a bed of assault weapons, got popped for using steroids or killed a pedestrian while driving drunk, he would be in an NFL training camp today" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 8/11). In DC, John Feinstein writes Kaepernick is "actually an opportunity for the NFL." It only takes "one team to say publicly: We may disagree with his tactics, but he's committed no crime and we will judge him on talent alone." The NFL "loves to prove its collective patriotism with salutes to the military." Feinstein: "What's more patriotic than freedom of speech?" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/11).

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick wonders if there is a "difference between being 'blackballed' and being shunned for cause." If Kaepernick has the "right to exploit national anthems played before NFL games to display his disgust with America, why don't NFL teams that also rely on customers appalled by Kaepernick's protest, have the right to counter-protest by not signing him?" Mushnick: "How many of us can use our employer’s workplace to unilaterally conduct any kind of attention-generating political or social protest?" (N.Y. POST, 8/11). In DC, Thom Loverro writes a rally later this month will "attempt to strong arm NFL owners ... into signing Kaepernick." It is "doubtful that political pressure is going to force the hands of the men who own these football teams." Loverro: "I'm not sure that all this pressure -- the petitions, the rallies -- is something that Kaepernick, who has said he would now stand for the national anthem if he returns to football, welcomes" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/11).
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