THE NATIONAL conversation that began in the preseason when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick elected to sit down for the national anthem will continue when the Eagles take the field Monday night in Chicago, veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins said.
Jenkins told 94 WIP radio hosts Glen Macnow and Jody McDonald Friday evening that he and teammates expect to make a symbolic gesture during the anthem.
"For me, it has nothing to do with this country, or the flag or the anthem itself - really, it's just to continue to push forward the conversation about social injustice . . . that's a range of things from police brutality to wages and job opportunities, education. It's just a lot of things systematically that have been set up in this country, since its inception, that really put minorities, especially African Americans, at a disadvantage, when you talk about quality of life, and actually growing in this country," Jenkins said.
"I'm going to keep that conversation going to as many people as we can, while also doing my part in bringing forth change. This has been a hot topic. The more players that join in, the further this conversation goes. After the intial shock of what Kaepernick did, and once everybody started to listen to what his message was, it's become a really good conversation that's gone along nationwide."
During the preseason, Jenkins supported undrafted Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres, who had announced plans to join in the Kaepernick protest a few days before the preseason finale, but was advised against it by his agent. Tavarres did not protest that night, then did not survive the final roster cuts.
Jenkins said Friday that Eagles players decided not to protest at Sunday's opener, when the anthem was part of a 15th anniversary 9/11 remembrance. Players from several teams have either kneeled, raised their fists or linked arms in silent protest, as the league moves into the second week of the season.
"We have guys, especially myself, who feel very strongly about the topic," Jenkins said.
When the Tavarres matter arose, Eagles coach Doug Pederson said: "I can appreciate everybody's opinions and I respect everybody's opinions. But at the same time, I feel that (the anthem) is important, and it's obviously out of respect for the men and women of our country that sacrifice in order for us to coach and play this great game. So I get it. I understand it. But at the same time, I encourage everybody to stand."
Jenkins said Friday that Pederson had been informed of the possibility of a protest Monday and was "OK with it."
"We're on the same page," Jenkins added.
Jenkins said players need to talk more before deciding upon what form the protest would take, whether everyone would take part or players would protest individually. He said he didn't think players would kneel.