Former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is playing for the New Orleans Saints next season, but he has also landed a new job as a paid contributor on CNN.

The network confirmed Monday that Jenkins, a cofounder of the Players Coalition and an outspoken advocate of racial and social equality, will be joining the network as an on-air contributor as the country deals with the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis and the resulting protests and demonstrations.

It marks the first time CNN has hired an active player of any sport as an on-air contributor, and comes after the National Football League’s admission it was wrong not to listen to players’ concerns about racism and systematic oppression of black people.

“Now more than ever, the public needs to be educated on the roles of elected positions of power, such as the district attorney, police chief, or city council and how to hold those individuals accountable, especially through their voice and their vote,” Jenkins said in a statement.

Jenkins was among the NFL players who protested police brutality and racial injustice during the national anthem before games. Instead of kneeling while the anthem played, Jenkins raised his fist in the air.

Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins raises his fist with teammate defensive end Chris Long (left) and free safety Rodney McLeod during the National Anthem before a game against Washington.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins raises his fist with teammate defensive end Chris Long (left) and free safety Rodney McLeod during the National Anthem before a game against Washington.

Jenkins returned to Philadelphia on June 6 to join protests against police brutality and racial injustice. In an opinion piece for The Inquirer, Jenkins explained why he marched in Philadelphia:

We are out in the streets demanding change because for over 150 years of “freedom” in this country we have exhausted every other recourse. There are protesters on the ground with their hands up, even as police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at them, to draw attention to the fact that, for so many in this country, kneeling before the flag, as many athletes did, is a worse offense than kneeling on a black man’s neck until he perishes.

Jenkins started his career with the Saints in 2009 and spent six years with the Eagles, where he was a three-time Pro Bowler and helped the team win its first Super Bowl in 2018.

Jenkins was under contract for one more year in Philadelphia, but the Eagles declined the option and released him, which allowed him to sign with the Saints.