Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has again criticized the NFL’s new national anthem policy saying it is a step backward for black people, even though the policy has been put on hold, Pro Football Talk reports.
In May, the NFL put in place a new rule that required players to stand on the sidelines in honor of the national anthem. The rule change allowed for players to stay in the locker room if they did not want to stand for the anthem, but it also allowed teams to fine players on the field if they knelt during the song.
The rule, though, was put on hold only weeks before the start of the 2018 season after the National Football League Players Association filed a grievance against the league, complaining that the policy was crafted without their participation. Further, many players said they still intend to continue their protests despite the rules.
In light of this, Jenkins noted that the rule was a bad idea in the first place. Jenkins even insisted that protesting against the flag and country is the “American way.”
“At the end of the day, protests and fighting back are the American way,” Jenkins told NBC Nightly News. “We can talk about social issues and still have a great game. We talked about domestic violence for a whole year. We talk about breast cancer for a whole month every year. We wear pink on the field, no issues with that. When we start talking about black issues, and issues of race, now all of a sudden ‘We just want football, we don’t want all that extra stuff.'”
Jenkins went on to note that the sudden ban on protests was the ultimate in mixed signals. After all, it seemed as if the league was supporting them for two years. “They went back to talking about the flag and then anthem and having respect,” he said. “When for a year and a half they’ve been hand-in-hand with us seeing what we’ve been doing in the communities.”
Indeed, the NFL voted to throw $89 million in league cash at so-called “social justice” programs at the request of the player’s union. So, it was easy for players to have assumed that the league was supporting their protests.
Despite all that, though, Jenkins has decided to end his own two-year-long protests. He will no longer raise a militant black power fist during the anthem.
“I think that has run its course,” he concluded. “The purpose of all of the demonstrations was to create dialogue. It’s more about the work now.”
One might argue that it should have been “about the work” in the first place, instead of empty, unpatriotic protests.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.