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Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins: Players would expect input in NFL anthem policy

After the Roger Goodell sent out a letter seeking new rules surrounding anthem conduct, Malcolm Jenkins said: "Hopefully we can continue to do this in a respectful manner."

Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins (center) and some teammates raise their right fist during the national anthem before the Arizona game.
Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins (center) and some teammates raise their right fist during the national anthem before the Arizona game.Read moreCLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the leaders among NFL players who have been protesting during the national anthem as a way to raise awareness of racial disparities, said after practice he hadn't seen the letter commissioner Roger Goodell sent to the 32 teams Tuesday seeking an owners' vote next week on an anthem policy.

Goodell said the anthem protest issue "is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country.

"I'm very proud of our players and owners who have done the hard work over the past year to listen, understand and attempt to address the underlying issues within their communities. At our September committee meetings, we heard directly from several players about why these issues are so important to them and how we can support their work. And last week, we met with the leadership of the NFLPA and more players to advance the dialogue.

"Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players."

Goodell said he wants to address the players' concerns by providing an "in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues, and that will help to promote positive change in our country."

Jenkins, one of the players Goodell met with last month, has been raising his right fist during the anthem since last season, while also meeting with police and people in urban communities who mistrust law enforcement. In recent games, he has been joined by safety Rodney McLeod, and defensive end Chris Long has been placing his arm across Jenkins' shoulder during the anthem as a gesture of support.

Goodell's letter seemed directed at addressing the issue of players kneeling during the anthem; it didn't address raising one's fist.

"Hopefully we can continue to do this in a respectful manner, in a way that continues to support the players that are [trying to make a positive change]," Jenkins said.

Asked if the players' union wouldn't object to owners unilaterally enacting a "no protest"  policy, Jenkins said: "I do think it's one of those things that players and the NFLPA would definitely want to have some input in."

In Dallas, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones this week decreed that his players must stand. "He doesn't own the team I play for," Jenkins said.


Jim Schwartz, asked how the Panthers use rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, said they use him "a lot like Darren Sproles." … Corner Ronald Darby (ankle) and running back Wendell Smallwood (knee) did not practice Tuesday and are not expected to play Thursday … Defensive tackle Beau Allen and defensive end Chris Long were listed as limited participants, with foot injuries … The Eagles brought back to the practice squad 2016 seventh-round draft pick Alex McCalister, a defensive end, who was waived/injured just before the start of the season. They released wideout/returner Rashard Davis from the practice squad.