New Orleans Saints

Former Eagle Malcolm Jenkins hired as CNN contributor

Former Eagle Malcolm Jenkins hired as CNN contributor

Former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has been an advocate for racial equality and social justice for years. 

Now he’ll have an even bigger platform. 

Jenkins, 32, has been hired by CNN as a contributor to speak on national matters of racial and social injustice. 

Jenkins is expected to contribute to several CNN programs and other content. 

Now more than ever, the public needs to be educated on the roles of elected positions of power, such as the District Attorney, Police Chief or City Council and how to hold those individuals accountable, especially through their voice and their vote,” Jenkins said in a statement. 

“In an important election year, I’m eager to join the CNN family and share my perspective as a regular contributor. I also want to thank CNN for their thoughtful leadership in viewing professional athletes beyond their sport as another educated voice who brings a varied perspective and value to the network’s programming and shows.

Jenkins is now a member of the New Orleans Saints but continues to live in Philadelphia and was marching in the city during recent protests. He was also the commencement speaker for Philadelphia Public Schools’ virtual graduation last week. 

During his six years as an Eagle, Jenkins was a three-time Pro Bowler but he has become known just as much for his charitable work and activism in his community. His foundation, The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, gives back to youth in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Louisiana. 

With Anquan Boldin in 2017, he helped form the Players Coalition, which aims to end systemic racism and police brutality. The Players Coalition just last week collected over 1,400 signatures from active and retired sports figures in a letter to congress in support of a bill to end qualified immunity.

Jenkins was among a group of NFL players that demonstrated during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice. Jenkins raised his fist, but stopped those demonstrations in 2018 and said he wanted to shift the conversation away from those specific demonstrations and back to the issues behind them. 

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Malcolm Jenkins: NFL owes Colin Kaepernick better apology, action for 2020 season

Malcolm Jenkins: NFL owes Colin Kaepernick better apology, action for 2020 season

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell surprised some last week when he released an 81-second video admitting the league had erred by objecting to peaceful player protests in 2016.

Goodell encouraged players to speak up and peacefully protest this season, amid nationwide protests against institutional racism.

But former Eagles safety and current New Orleans Saint Malcolm Jenkins thinks Goodell didn't do enough to address one specific person: Colin Kaepernick.

Goodell's statement notably didn't mention Kaepernick, the man who started the wave of peaceful protests in the NFL in 2016 and was subsequently shunned from the league. That didn't sit well with Jenkins, who believes Kaepernick deserves more from Goodell and the NFL in terms of apologies and amends.

Here's Jenkins giving his take Tuesday on CBS This Morning:

I still don't think they've gotten it right. Until they apologize, specifically, to Colin Kaepernick, or assign him to a team, I don't think that they will end up on the right side of history. 

At the end of the day, they've listened to their players, they've donated money, they've created an Inspire Change platform - they've tried to do things up to this point. But it's been one player in particular that they have ignored, and not acknowledged, and that's Colin Kaepernick.

Jenkins, already one of the league's most active and vocal proponents of social reform and justice, has been particularly active in recent weeks.

He marched with Philadelphians in Center City to protest the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and he called out new teammate Drew Brees for not listening to black people who are protesting continued institutional racism in the United States.

Kaepernick, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2016, is currently training "as if he'll be on an NFL roster in 2020". In 2016, he started 11 games and threw 16 touchdowns to four interceptions, averaging 6.8 yards per attempt, on a very bad 49ers team.

Whether the NFL will do anything to make sure he has a chance to play again remains to be seen.

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Malcolm Jenkins to Drew Brees: 'Sometimes you should shut the f--- up'

Malcolm Jenkins to Drew Brees: 'Sometimes you should shut the f--- up'

Update: Drew Brees apologized on Thursday morning. 

Drew Brees said Wednesday he still feels kneeling during the national anthem is "disrespectful," as protestors across the nation speak out about institutional racism.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback said in 2016 that he "wholeheartedly" disagreed with then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel during the anthem as a way to protest racism in the U.S. and in the country's police system.

On Wednesday, Brees returned to those words amid displays from citizens, including fellow athletes, across the country.

Many, including former Eagles safety and Brees' current teammate Malcolm Jenkins, believe Brees is missing the point of the current national conversation.

Jenkins posted a lengthy response to Brees' comments on his Instagram in a video, which he later deleted. 

Here's what Jenkins said in the now-deleted video:

Quite frankly I'm hurt, and I'm not okay. I saw Drew Brees' comments, and they were extremely disappointing, extremely self-centered, and just shows a complete lack of awareness or care for the plight of teammates, your peers, and your countrymen. For you to talk about the reasons why you respect the flag, and the national anthem, because your grandfathers both served and fought for this country, shows that you're so unaware of the history of my grandfather, and others whose grandparents fought for this country in those same wars. 

And when they came back to this country, they didn't get a hero's welcome. They were met with violence for wearing that uniform. The same people who put their lives on the line for you, and your ancestors, came back to this country and were treated less than men, or beaten up and snatched off of buses for wearing their uniforms. Cut out of society and marginalized, even though they put their lives on the line for you. So to assume that, because you have a perspective about the flag and what it means to you, and the national anthem, and that everybody else should have the same mentality - it's just completely unaware that my grandfather's experience is way different than yours.

And so I'm somebody who protested during the national anthem. Not against the national anthem, but against police brutality, and the systemic racism that is plaguing our country. And if you can't see - now, in 2020, with the whole nation on fire and people screaming for equality and that this is enough - and you can't, with the same vigor that you like to denounce the protest during the national anthem, denounce the murder of George Floyd, denounce the murder of Breonna Taylor, denounce the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, denounce systematic racism, commit yourself to making this country better without criticizing those who have exhausted every single resource they have to make this country better, and this country has not stepped up to the plate. You have not stepped up to the plate. To stay silent when your peers are screaming from the mountaintops that we need help, our communities are under siege, and we need help. What you're telling us is, 'Don't ask for help that way. Ask for it a different way. I can't listen when you ask that way.' 

We're done asking, Drew. People who share your sentiments, who express those and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem. And it's unfortunate, because I considered you a friend, I looked up to you as somebody I had a great deal of respect for, but sometimes you should shut the f**k up.

Jenkins said he deleted the video because he "knew it [would] be more about the headlines".

After Jenkins deleted the first video, he uploaded a second, different video. Here's what he said:

I promise you this... the onslaught of s**t that we have to deal with is f***ing crazy right now. Drew Brees, if you don't understand how hurtful, how insensitive your comments are, you are part of the problem. To think that, because your grandfathers served in this country and you have a great respect for the flag, that everybody else should have the same ideals and thoughts that you do is ridiculous. And it shows that you don't know history. Because when our grandfathers fought for this country, and served, and they came back, they didn't come back to a hero's welcome. They came back and got attacked for wearing their uniforms. They came back to people, to racism, to complete violence. 

And then here we are in 2020, with the whole country on fire, everybody witnessing a black man being murdered at the hands of the police, just in cold blood, for everybody to see, the whole country's on fire, and the first thing you do is criticize one's peaceful protest? That was years ago, when we were trying to signal a sign for help, signal for our allies, for our white brothers and sisters, the people we considered to be friends, to get involved. It was ignored, and here we are, now, with the world on fire, and you still first continue to criticize how we peacefully protest, because it doesn't fit in what you do? And your beliefs? Without ever acknowledging the fact that a man was murdered at the hands of police in front of us all, and it's been continuing for centuries. That the same brothers that you break the huddle down with before every game, the same guys that you bleed with and go into battle with every single day, go home to communities that have been decimated. 

Drew, unfortunately you're somebody who doesn't understand their privelege. You don't understand the potential you have to actually be an advocate for the people that you call brothers. You don't understand the history, and why people like me, people of my skin color, whose grandfathers fought for this country, who served, and I still protested not against the national anthem but against what was happening in America, what the fabric of this country stands for. If you don't understand that other people experience something totally different, then when you talk about being the brotherhood, and all this other bulls**t, it's just lip service, or it's only on the field. Because when we step off this field and I take my helmet off, I'm a black man walking around America, and I'm telling you - I'm dealing with these things. My communities are dealing with these things. And your response to me is, 'Don't talk about that here. This is not the place.' Drew - where is the place, Drew?

I'm disappointed, I'm hurt, because while the world tells you that you're not worthy, that your life doesn't matter, the last place you want to hear it from are the guys that you go to war with, and that you consider to be allies and to be your friends. Even though we're teammates, I can't let this slide.

Both times, Jenkins also included this caption with his posts:

I’m tired...

As I was trying to muster up the energy and find the words to address Drew Brees’s comments I recorded this video. Before I could post it, Drew reached out to me to discuss his point of view.

All in all, I’m still posting this video because it’s important for anyone who wants to consider themself an ally to know how these words and actions affect those who you want to help. Drew’s words during his interview were extremely painful to hear and I hope he rectifies them with real action.

Here's how Brees had explained his stance in an interview with Yahoo! Finance:

I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America, or our country. 

Let me just tell you what I see, what I feel, when the national anthem is played, and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army, and one in the Marine Corps. Both risking their lives to protect our country, and to try and make our country, and this world, a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart, looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that's what I think about. 

And in many cases, it brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed - not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the 60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. 

And is everything right with our country right now? No, it's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do, by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we all can do better, and that we are all part of the solution.

 

Brees' comments have drawn blowback from many others in the sports world, including other Philly athletes. 

Eagles cornerback Darius Slay voiced his displeasure:

Sixers forward Tobias Harris expressed his displeasure:

Eagles safety Jalen Mills weighed in:

Eagles running back Miles Sanders retweeted this tweet from Titans wideout A.J. Brown:

Eagles cornerback Rasul Douglas retweeted this tweet from Lions safety Jayron Kearse:

Sixers forward Mike Scott retweeted this tweet from Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks:

Former Eagles running back Jordan Howard also chimed in:

Brees' comments come after a number of prominent white athletes, including Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, have tried to use their voices and platforms to lift up the voices and experiences of black people in the United States who are tired of not being heard and understood.

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