Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins announced that he plans to stand for the national anthem without raising a clenched fist in protest this weekend against the Seattle Seahawks after consistently protesting the pregame patriotic ritual since early last season.
Jenkins says the NFL’s decision to spend $89 million on various social justice charities influenced his decision to drop his fist.
“All of this really is in good faith,” Jenkins told reporters, “and I think if the league continues to come through or deliver on their word, then I see no need to go back to what I was doing.”
The NFL insists the pledge does not come as part of a quid pro quo with the protesting players.
The league has experienced a ratings free-fall since Colin Kaepernick began protesting “The Star Spangled Banner” during the 2016 preseason. As Breitbart Sports reported, this week’s Houston Texans-Baltimore Ravens Monday Night Football matchup, for instance, garnered the program’s weakest ratings of the season, so rock bottom may lie deeper than the league imagined.
“I think what the league is proposing is a platform and a campaign similar to what they’ve done with Breast Cancer Awareness, My Cause, My Cleats, Salute to Service, but hopefully in an even bigger manner,” Jenkins noted. “And if we’re able to amplify our voices to showcase those causes, those issues, to highlight grass-roots organizations who are doing the work and need support, to tell the stories of those people who have been wronged or left out, I think that’s even more valuable than the cash amount. So hopefully, in good faith, that gets built out.”
Jenkins acts as a leader of the Players’ Coalition, which lobbies the NFL to contribute more to the communities in which teams play. Colin Kaepernick accused Jenkins of excluding him from meetings with the NFL. This, and other criticisms, led to Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas and San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid withdrawing from the group.
Jenkins boasts two interceptions and made 48 tackles this season for a 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles team that looks at this point like the favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.