Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins used the power of the written word to make a statement during his media session on Wednesday afternoon before underscoring his point in a one-on-one interview later that evening.
The traditionally outspoken Jenkins held approximately 10 handwritten signs in front of reporters on Wednesday afternoon that featured various messages related to social justice matters as well as highlighting the work of NFL players in the community. Some of the signs read as follows:
"You aren't listening"
"More than 60% of people in prison are people of color"
"In 2018 439 people shot and killed by police (thus far)"
"Colin Kaepernick gave $1 million to charity"
"Chris Long gave his entire year's salary to educational initiatives"
Later that evening, Jenkins ended his silence by saying the motivation for the display was his desire to focus on the issues for which they are protesting -- as opposed to the manner in which the protests are being perceived.
"I'm tired of the narrative being about the anthem, about the White House or whatever," Jenkins told ESPN after meeting with public defenders regarding bail reform.
"The issues are the issues. And the reason that we're doing any of this is, because we have these huge disparities in our criminal justice system; we have this issue of mass incarceration; we have issues of police brutality; our children and access to education and economic advancement is nonexistent in communities of color. And these things are systemic; there are ways that we can change them.
"And for me, I feel like this is the time to do that. And so, that message can't continue to be ignored. And that's what I think has been happening up until this point. So we just have to continue to stay on topic and continue to push the issues -- and not this narrative of who's right and who's wrong, but what are the reasons why players are even so passionate about this."
Jenkins' actions came two days after the White House canceled the Eagles' scheduled visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that team owner Jeffrey Lurie was expected to join a small contingent on the South Lawn before the White House rescinded the invitation on Monday night, less than 24 hours before the scheduled ceremony.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement on Tuesday that the Eagles attempted to reschedule the visit last week, but the dates offered by the team conflicted with President Donald Trump's schedule.
Jenkins has played a leading role in helping the Players Coalition work toward improving police and community relations while advocating for criminal justice and economic reform.