Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins will not raise his fist during the national anthem on Sunday like he's done since September 2016 because of efforts the NFL has made to help with social justice awareness and changes. That includes $89 million in contributions the league is proposing in causes considered important to African American communities, according to ESPN.
"I don't anticipate demonstrating this week simply because I felt like when I started demonstrating, my whole motivation was to draw awareness to disenfranchised people, communities of color, injustices around the country, our criminal justice system," Jenkins said by his locker on Thursday.
"And obviously through this year and talking with the league and what they've kind of proposed, I feel like has presented a bigger and better platform to continue to raise that awareness and continue to fluctuate positive change. Not only with the money that they've put up, because I think that's probably the least important part of the deal, but with the resources and platform that they proposed to build."
Jenkins said this is not about the money the league is investing, because he "wouldn't just accept a check and move on." It's about the platform the league will provide to fight these causes. Jenkins said when he started raising his fist during the national anthem, it was because of the exposure it would generate for those injustices. He believes the league is committed to "really take a look at these issues that are in our communities, communities of color, criminal justice system, education system, and really tell those stories." He compared it to the awareness the league has raised during campaigns for breast cancer and Salute to Service.
"We have an opportunity to be pioneers in this space," Jenkins said. "It only makes sense that we kind of lead these conversations."
Jenkins made the decision in the past 24 hours. It comes while he has lost support from some in the Players Coalition. But Jenkins realizes the strides he's made since last September, although he's not finished yet.
"There's a lot still to be done," Jenkins said. "I'm not popping champagne bottles just yet. But I am looking forward to continuing to work and providing an area for other players to amplify their efforts as well."