Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins explains why he resumed national anthem protest

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins explains why he resumed national anthem protest

As the Star-Spangled Banner began to play at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night before the first preseason game of the Eagles’ 2018 season, safety Malcolm Jenkins resumed the silent demonstration he paused toward the end of last season. 

Jenkins rose his right fist in the air, a protest against racial and social inequality in the United States. 

He said he didn’t make his decision to do it until just before the game. 

“It’s something I wrestle with all the time,” Jenkins said at his locker after the game. “There was no one incident or moment that made me decide. It was more so, I just couldn’t really think of a good reason not to.”

Jenkins, 30, had paused his protest late last season after the NFL pledged $100 million to causes to combat the same issues Jenkins is trying to fix. But then this offseason, the NFL passed an anthem policy requiring players to either stand respectfully or stay in the locker room. 

The policy states the NFL can fine teams of players who demonstrate, but those fines are now on hold as the league and the NFLPA are in discussions about the issue and the policy. 

"The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans," league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to the Associated Press.

"While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem.

"Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL's policy regarding the national anthem. 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."

Jenkins wasn’t the only Eagles player to demonstrate during the national anthem. Cornerback De’Vante Bausby also raised his fist. Chris Long put his arm around Jenkins as he did last season. Newcomer Michael Bennett walked down the sideline during the playing of the song, but his intent was not necessarily known.  

Jenkins said he didn’t know Bausby was going to join him in protest; Jenkins said he tries not to talk to his teammates about it for fear that they’ll think he’s pressuring them to join. 

“I think it was just a culmination of how the offseason went and where we are now,” Jenkins said. “I think it’s important that we continue to keep this conversation going, that we don’t let it get stagnant. As we understand it, everyone is kind of waiting to see what the league is going to do. That doesn’t mean that we 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.”

Jenkins admitted he doesn’t know what’s going to happen if the NFL’s policy is fully reinstated. He admitted he doesn’t even know how the demonstration will manifest itself next Thursday, when the Eagles play the Patriots in New England. 

The important thing for Jenkins is the work he does in communities off the field. The reason he wrestles with the decision of whether or not to demonstrate, he says, is because he knows he’s representing a large portion of people. He said he wants to make sure he has their best interest at heart. 

Long said the important thing for him is the work Jenkins does off the field. That’s why he has no problem supporting his teammate. 

“[Jenkins] can always sleep good at night knowing that he’s not being a fraud,” Long said. “He’s protesting and he’s working in the community, like a lot of these guys are doing. At the end of the day, he’s maybe going back and forth on, ‘Should I protest or not?’ But he’s going to do the same thing off the field, which is, he’s going to move the needle off the field.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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2019 NFL Draft Preview Show: How to watch on MyTeams app


2019 NFL Draft Preview Show: How to watch on MyTeams app

The 2019 NFL Draft Preview show is coming your way Thursday, streaming live in the MyTeams app. We'll go coast to coast with our NFL insiders, including NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn, and answer your questions live. The 2019 NFL Draft preview, live in MyTeams this Thursday at 3 p.m. 

Download the MyTeams app here

The lineup 

  • Derrick Gunn — Eagles
  • Tom Curran — Patriots
  • Matt Maiocco — 49ers
  • Scott Bair — Raiders
  • JJ Stankevitz — Bears
  • JP Finlay — Redskins
  • Aaron Fentress — Seahawks

DATE: Thursday, April 25
TIME: 3 p.m. ET
WHERE: MyTeams App

Round 1 of the NFL draft begins at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday evening. Rounds 2 and 3 continue on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET, and the draft concludes on Saturday with Rounds 4 through 7 beginning at 12 p.m. ET. The entire draft will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network, with a live stream available at nfl.com/watch

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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NFL draft 2019: 10 possibilities for Eagles on offense and defense

NFL draft 2019: 10 possibilities for Eagles on offense and defense

After months of speculation and smokescreens and more mock drafts than we can count, the NFL draft kicks off tonight. 

It begins at 8 p.m. and will be televised on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. (Day 2 begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Day 3 begins at noon on Saturday). 

For now, the Eagles own the 25th pick. For reference, the 25th pick has been announced at around 10:55 p.m. EST the last couple of years. 

If you haven’t been paying attention until today, here’s a little cheat sheet —10 possibilities on offense and 10 possibilities on defense for the Eagles in the first round (listed alphabetically): 


Garrett Bradbury, OL, NC State: A center/guard, Bradbury is a candidate to be the top iOL off the board. At 6-foot-3, 306 pounds, slightly undersized, but a very athletic interior lineman. 

A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi: His teammate D.K. Metcalf is atop many receiver rankings, but Brown is a more versatile player. He has a full route tree and can play outside or in the slot. He might be a stretch for 25, but perhaps he’d fit as a trade-down candidate.  

Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma: Despite a Lisfranc injury, Brown is still one of the best receivers in this class because of his electricity. He’s undersized, but he’s an absolute speed demon. The DeSean comparisons are unavoidable. 

Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State: Thanks to his pass-happy college offense, Dillard is the most polished OT in this class when it comes to pass protection. He still needs some work as a run blocker. 

Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma: Joe Douglas wouldn’t say whether the Eagles viewed Ford as more of a guard or a tackle, but said they had an idea of where he’d begin with the Birds. He might be a trade-up candidate and is a really solid prospect who could play guard or tackle at the NFL level. 

Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama: Jacobs is likely to be the first running back on the board but there is a question about whether or not that will be in the first round. The Eagles haven’t taken an RB in Round 1 since the 80s, but Jacobs doest project as a true three-down back in the NFL. 

Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College: BC has a great track record when it comes to interior offensive linemen and there’s a good chance Lindstrom might be the first true interior guy off the board. 

Greg Little, OT, Mississippi: Opinions are really mixed on Little, whom some view as a first-rounder and others see as a second-rounder. Plenty of things to improve, but a team could fall in love with his frame and upside. 

Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State: Part of Risner’s value is his versatility after playing tackle and guard in college. The Eagles love versatility. He likely projects more as a guard, but has the ability to play tackle too. 

Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama: A possible trade-up candidate, Williams is viewed by many to be possibly the second-best offensive tackle in this class. 


Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware: A local kid, Adderley has to overcome the small school stigma, but he’s in play for the first round. The Eagles have never taken a pure safety in the first round, so maybe Round 2 is more likely for a safety. 

Brian Burns, DE, Florida State: A lanky pass rusher with freakish ability and athleticism. I have a feeling he’ll be long gone by 25 and might fit better as an outside ‘backer in a 3-4. 

Devin Bush, LB, Michigan: I don’t know if it’s more unlikely the Eagles would take a linebacker or that Bush would be available at 25. But both are very unlikely. Still, Bush is a stud sideline-to-sideline linebacker who would fit in perfectly with the Birds. 

Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson: Speaking of great fits, Ferrell is a prototypical 4-3 end in the Eagles’ defense. Many edge guys lack the size and ability to be stout run defenders, but Ferrell isn’t one of them. 

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida: A big versatile safety with cover skills and athleticism. Howie loves him some Gators and the Eagles certainly have some need for a young safety. Gardner-Johnson might be a little bit of a reach, but he should be available. 

Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson: At 342 pounds, Lawrence is more of a run-stuffer, but he’s still really athletic for his size and has the ability to get upfield. I’ve come around on the idea of the Eagles using their first-round pick on him. 

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston: A clear trade-up candidate, it seems unlikely he’ll ever get in a realistic range for the Eagles. He is a top-10 talent. 

Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State: He has a torn ACL and might have to redshirt as a rookie, but would be a great fit with the Birds if they’re willing to be patient. 

Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame: With seven sacks last season, Tillery is another attacking 4-3 defensive end with a possible Round 1 grade. At 6-6, 295, he’s plenty athletic but not enough to get into the top half of the first round. He’s likely to be there at 25.  

Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson: He’s been my favorite all draft season. Wilkins is a legit first-round interior pass rusher who can do it all. He primarily played 3-tech at Clemson, but has the size to play 1-tech. He’s the kind of get-up-field interior rusher that is coveted in this NFL and the kind of personality that would fit right in with this Eagles team. 

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