Eagles safety Rodney McLeod spoke with reporters Wednesday, a few hours before the Milwaukee Bucks declined to take the court for their NBA playoff game against the Orlando Magic, leading to the postponement of Wednesday’s NBA schedule.
No one knew what was about to unfold at the NBA bubble at Disney World, but the social justice movement in pro athletics, and the police shooting of Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wis., occupied a significant part of the McLeod interview.
McLeod was wearing a slate-colored T-shirt that read “State of Emergency” in large letters across the chest, with this passage underneath: “As we mourn our departed brothers and sisters we stand strong for change. We are committed to investing in our next generation to form agents of change, leaders, and solutions to create equality for all.”
McLeod had touted the T-shirts on his Instagram account; proceeds are to go to the Digital Pioneers Academy charter school in Washington.
He said he expects the Blake shooting to be a topic at Friday’s meeting of the Eagles’ social justice committee, where the committee hopes “to really figure out what’s our stance, and how we want to stand together as a team moving forward this year, as it is a hot topic right now.”
McLeod said the committee was formed a few years ago. Original members were himself, Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, and Nelson Agholor. Current members are McLeod, Malik Jackson, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, DeSean Jackson, Jake Elliott, and Avonte Maddox. McLeod said general manager Howie Roseman is present at the virtual meetings, along with team owner Jeffrey Lurie and former player Connor Barwin, now a special assistant to Roseman.
McLeod was asked about taking a knee during the national anthem this season.
“That is a topic of conversation that I did advise that we make a decision on,” he said. “Everybody has a different opinion on what they want to do to show our unity and support. ... It’s going to be a tough conversation. I think the best part is, we’re all open to hearing about what’s best for our team and our organization. That may mean us taking a knee, that could mean us raising a fist in solidarity, or we could take a whole different approach to shine light on these social justice matters that exist in our country.”
Earlier, Eagles coach Doug Pederson was asked about the Detroit Lions’ canceling of practice Tuesday, in protest over the shooting of Blake. “You gotta put football aside. This is human life,” Pederson said.
Doug Pederson said wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is working hard at rehabbing his surgically repaired right foot.
“He’s doing his on-land running. We’ve increased that. He’s looking really good. He’s feeling really good. And we’re hoping to get him out there soon with the team, at some point here in the near future,” Pederson said. “I’ve been impressed with his workout, with his treatment, with his rehab, and we’ll see here in the next couple of weeks, but ... not going to put a timetable on him or make any decisions [on the physically unable to perform list, etc.] at this time.”