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Philadelphia Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins uses platform to promote social change

By Tyler Mason, The Sports Xchange
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) reacts after a tackle with Rodney McLeod (23) during the second quarter of an NFC divisional playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons on January 13 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. File photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/66b8e12525c48f6cd70e662aaa1da98d/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) reacts after a tackle with Rodney McLeod (23) during the second quarter of an NFC divisional playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons on January 13 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. File photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Philadelphia's Malcolm Jenkins is a Pro Bowl safety on a Super Bowl team. As far as platforms go, he won't find one much bigger than he currently has.

With the added visibility of preparing for a Super Bowl on Sunday against the New England Patriots, Jenkins offered more insight into why he and others around the NFL continue to be vocal about social change.

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The Eagles' safety helped form the Players' Coalition along with former wide receiver Anquan Boldin, and the group has provided an avenue for players to speak out.

With hopes of winning his second Super Bowl, the former Saints player believes his voice and the voices of other NFL players still need to be heard.

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"It's not like you get involved and do whatever for one year and then you go home and chill out," Jenkins said. "I don't see this slowing down."

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As a leader on Philadelphia's defense, the 30-year-old Jenkins had a pair of interceptions and 57 tackles in the regular season. He was named one of the five Eagles captains before the start of the 2017 season.

Yet teammates old and new continue to follow Jenkins' lead off the field, too. That includes wide receiver Torrey Smith, who won a Super Bowl with Baltimore and is in his first season with Philadelphia.

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"I've always been very outspoken about literally everything in my whole life, so to be here with him is pretty cool," Smith said. "He has the structure, he has the vision. To kind of combine all of our minds to try to really create world change has been special."

In an NFL season where protests during the national anthem made weekly headlines -- and drew the attention of President Trump -- Jenkins and others feel that their voices need to be heard now more than ever. Jenkins says he's seen players unite over collective bargaining agreements or other similar issues during his nine NFL seasons, but never before for a social issue like this.

"I think hopefully that's a good bar to set for athletes moving forward that are either in high school, college, that are looking up to us," Jenkins said. "Hopefully we set a good example that inspires them to continue to fight for their communities, no matter what stage they're on."

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Other Eagles players have used their platform with a hope of making positive change. Defensive end Chris Long donated his $1 million base salary for 2017 to educational equality. Long talked Thursday about the importance of players speaking up for social causes -- even when fans may want them to stick to football.

"It's funny, people talk about distractions. This is my fifth hour talking to the media this week and it's a good problem to have," Long said. "I fire off one tweet that has to do with a foundation tweet or criminal justice reform or something that, as players, we're working on, and everybody's like, 'Stay focused.' They've got no problem turning on the TV and watching me sitting up here for five hours. That's just the way it is."

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