Before today's home opener, Eagles players, coaches and front office executives locked arms in a demonstration of unity.
More than ever we remain committed to advocacy 4 equality & social justice 4 all! @Eagles fans Join us in locking arms 4 unity in our city!— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) September 24, 2017
Owner Jeff Lurie, president Don Smolenski and vice president of football operations Howie Roseman joined players on the sideline during the national anthem.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins, who tweeted first Sunday morning, participated in a near-season-long demonstration during the national anthem last year and has continued that demonstration into this season.
His demonstration — raising his right fist — is an attempt to further a conversation about racism and social injustice in the United States.
Sunday's demonstration of locking arms is a response to President Donald Trump's comments Friday night, encouraging NFL owners to release players who protest during the national anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!' Trump said.
“You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
Eagles owner Jeff Lurie released a statement Saturday night to support his players' attempts to call attention to injustice (see story). While it wasn't as strong against Trump's comments as some other statements from NFL owners, Lurie has been consistent in supporting his players in this area. Jenkins, Chris Long and Torrey Smith, some of the Eagles' more outspoken players on topics of race and injustice, have said Lurie has been very supportive.
During the game in London on Sunday morning, Jaguars players and Ravens players on both sidelines locked arms during the anthem. Jaguars owner Shad Khan joined them.
Last September, when Jenkins first began his demonstration, head coach Doug Pederson said he would join in if his players held some sort of team-wide demonstration.
"If it was team-wide, if they wanted to do something team-wide, I’d definitely be for that," Pederson said last September. "I think it shows unity and there’s no division that way, and I think it sends a great message that from our standpoint, the National Football League and the platform and the individuals, we love this country and what it represents and the flag and the national anthem and everything. Listen, we’re not perfect, obviously, and for us to stand united that way, I’d go for that.”
Through the first two games of the 2017 season, Jenkins has raised his fist during the anthem, while Long and Rodney McLeod placed their arms on him in a showing of support.