Malcolm Jenkins: I'd hold anthem demonstration even if team's owner forbid it


The NFL's never-ending national anthem saga continued Sunday when vice president Mike Pence left the Colts game early after being upset by the sight of players protesting during the anthem.

Later on Sunday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones turned heads even more by saying that players who disrespect the flag "will not play."

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, through word and deed, has been making a difference both locally and nationally trying to generate change and improve race relations. He had a strong reaction Monday to Jones' comments, expressing gratitude that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie hasn't taken such a stance.

"Well, my first reaction is that I'm grateful that Jeffrey Lurie not only did not express those kinds of feelings but has proactively been in the community and has reached out to try and hear about the issues that we are actually demonstrating to draw attention to," Jenkins told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn.

"If [Lurie] were to put out such a statement I'd continue my demonstration because my demonstration is in no way disrespectful to our flag, our country or our service members. Neither is anybody in the league who is kneeling. I think we've made that very clear that what we are demonstrating about has nothing to do with the flag but everything to do with social injustice, racial inequality and the things that, you know, Jerry Jones and other owners who are making statements have yet to address.

"And so I'd love to hear their takes on that part of the conversation, what these players are trying to draw attention to. Their thoughts on, you know, police brutality and racial inequality, education gap, the economical gap in these communities that they make money in. And I'd love to hear that part of the conversation so that it's not so argumentative, so that it's not isolating the players who are trying to do the right thing with the platform that they have."

Jones' comments made clear that he wants his players to "stand up for the flag," not kneel, during the national anthem. Jenkins' demonstration has never included kneeling. Since last season, Jenkins and several Eagles teammates have stood and raised their fists during the anthem.

Still, Jenkins reiterated that even if his team's owner said what Jones said Sunday, he wouldn't change his way of demonstrating.

"I would still do it," Jenkins said. "I mean, I've been that committed to it because that decision is not mine. I made the decision a year ago that I was going to use my platform in a way to create positive change both on the field and off the field and having someone tell me I couldn't do that simply because, you know, a president or your bottom line is getting ready to be affected, that wouldn't deter me."

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