For over a year, Malcolm Jenkins has raised his fist during the playing of the national anthem before Eagles games.
On Tuesday, he was in New York City for a joint meeting between players, owners and the NFLPA in an attempt to find common ground on the same social issues that have led to those pregame demonstrations.
Jenkins told a group of reporters that the two-hour meeting went "really well."
Jenkins and teammate Chris Long were both excused from the Eagles' light practice on Tuesday to be in New York for the meeting. They were two of 12 current players representing eight NFL teams. Former NFL player Anquan Boldin was also in attendance.
Eagles owner Jeff Lurie was one of 11 owners in attendance.
"This was the first time we have gotten the chance to sit down in front of ownership," Jenkins said, via NFL Network. "We felt like they were receptive. We felt like there was real dialogue and conversation and thought it was positive."
The NFL was represented by commissioner Roger Goodell and executive vice president of football operations (and former Eagle) Troy Vincent, while the NFLPA was represented by executive director DeMaurice Smith, president Eric Winston and senior director of player affairs Don Davis.
The NFL and NFLPA released the following joint statement:
"Today owners and players had a productive meeting focused on how we can work together to promote positive social change and address inequality in our communities. NFL executives and owners joined NFLPA executives and player leaders to review and discuss plans to utilize our platform to promote equality and effectuate positive change. We agreed that these are common issues and pledged to meet again to continue this work together.
"As we said last week, everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military. In the best American tradition, we are coming together to find common ground and commit to the hard work required for positive change."
While there didn't seem to be a message of finality about anthem protests in that statement, it appears both sides took a big step in the right direction as far as social justice issues go. Jenkins said there wasn't much talk about the demonstrations during the anthem. They instead focused on issues of social injustice and ways to solve those problems.
This season, Jenkins has continued to raise his fist during the anthem and Long, his teammate, has put his arm around him as a showing of solidarity. Safety Rodney McLeod has also begun to raise his fist.
But too much attention has now shifted to the protests during the anthem instead of the actual issues at hand. Jenkins, in particular, cares about social and racial injustice; the fist in the air was just a way to start a conversation about those issues.
"Obviously, we've been invited in here to be able to speak to the owners about some of the issues of injustice that we've seen in our communities and how as players we want to use our platform," Jenkins said. "And we just talked about how the owners could come alongside us and we could collectively collaborate and work together to bring some change and some real change. Those conversations will continue, the dialogue will continue and as players we'll continue to do the work in our communities. We feel like that's the most American thing to do, is to use your platform and your influence on the stage that we have as NFL players. And as a league in general, we feel a real responsibility to our country, to our communities, so we're working through ways to have long-lasting change."
The demonstrations became even more widespread after President Donald Trump encouraged NFL owners to release players who protested during the anthem. A couple days after those comments, the Eagles linked arms during the anthem in a showing of solidarity.
While Torrey Smith wasn't in attendance during Tuesday's meeting in New York, he's one of the more socially active Eagles. He said there have been a lot of phone calls and coordinating between players over the last few weeks about these issues and handling them with the league.
"A win for me coming out of those meetings is that everyone's on the same page and trying to help the people in this country and use our game, which unites people from all different races, all different areas, all different levels of income, for one moment, for these games," Smith said. "And there's no better platform than for us to work together and try to benefit our country.
"Our owners have the power to impact a lot of lives in terms of whether it's financially or their guidance. I feel like it's our duty. Obviously, we're playing ball but the fans that are cheering us on, the fans that are working in these stadiums, the fans that are working in these neighborhoods are affected by some of the things that we're fighting for. If anyone thinks it's not an issue for us to be involved in as athletes or the owners of the NFL, then you're looking at it dead wrong."
After missing Tuesday's practice, neither Jenkins nor Long were available for comment in the Eagles' locker room. The Eagles will be back at practice Thursday as they prepare to host Washington on Monday night.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.