I spent two seconds on the national anthem protests in the game recap because I didn’t want to bog down an already lengthy article with sidebar quotes.
And I figured that a lot of people are sort of over it by now, but for those who do want to read about the anthem stuff, I thought it might make sense to do a separate story.
Right, so Malcolm Jenkins put his fist up again last night. De’Vante Bausby joined him. Michael Bennett came out of the locker room just after the anthem started and walked over to the Eagles bench while the music played.
After the game, Jenkins was asked about his decision to continue with the fist:
“From how last season went to where we are now, I just think it’s important to continue to keep this conversation going and we don’t let it get stagnant. As we understand it, everybody is kind of waiting to see what the league is going to do. We won’t let it stop what we’ve been standing up for. That’s just my personal decision to make sure that we keep these things in the forefront.”
When Jenkins says that “everybody is kind of waiting” on the NFL, he’s talking about the discussions currently taking place between the league and the players union regarding the new policy forcing players to stand, or remain in the locker room.
While no Eagles took a knee last night, Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson did. A number of Jaguars remained in the locker room and players from other teams went off the field before the playing of the anthem.
ESPN shared a league statement:
“There has been no change in the NFL’s policy regarding the national anthem,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement issued Thursday night. “The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room.
“We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities.”
That seems kind of goofy to me, because my understanding is that the policy was being frozen while the two sides discuss the problem. I guess they just aren’t going to impose penalties or whatever until they get this thing sorted out.
But back to Jenkins, who says he didn’t know Bausby was going to join him, explaining that he doesn’t want guys to “feel pressured into doing anything.” He says choosing to protest is a “very personal decision.”
As far as disciplinary action for demonstrating, Jenkins doesn’t know what the league is going to do:
“I’m not sure. It’s really not about the rule to me. These are things I’ve been fighting for. Whether you decide to find another way to use the platform or you push back against that. I’m not sure what the season will look like or even what next week will look like. I felt like it was important today to continue that.”
Photo Credit: James Lang, USA Today
Chris Long again had his hand on Jenkins’ shoulder during the anthem. He reiterated that the Eagles’ captain backs up his protest with action and isn’t just raising a fist for the sake of demonstration:
“For Malcolm, I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but when you talk about symbolic protests or whatever, or drawing attention to causes through symbolism, I think you have to go back and forth because you’re like – well, this isn’t what’s moving the needle necessarily, it’s about action – but Malcolm can always rest assured that he’s taking action and he can always sleep good at night knowing that he’s not being a fraud. He’s [demonstrating] and he’s working in the community, like a lot of these guys are doing. At the end of the day, I think maybe he’s going back and forth on should I protest or not. He’s always going to do the same thing off the field which is that he’s going to move the needle off the field.”
I don’t speak for Malcolm, but what I know is [you] prioritize the work and back up whatever you’re doing. I can respect whatever you do if you back it up.”
That’s your national anthem story for this week.
Enjoy your weekend.