One of the National Football League’s most persistent anthem protesters now says he wants the conversation to be about the issues, not the anthem.
Jenkins refused to take the field during the anthem at Thursday’s preseason game with the New England Patriots, instead remaining in the tunnel between the locker rooms and the field. The Eagles safety also consistently raised his fist during the anthem throughout the 2017 season.
But now, despite that players have used the national anthem as a platform to protest the country for over two years, Jenkins says he wants to change the conversation, according to Philadelphia’s NBC affiliate.
“I want the conversation to be about the issues, not about the anthem and whether it’s the right time or wrong time,” Jenkins said according to NBC 10’s John Clark. “There’s a lot of work being done. I want that to be the focus.”
Malcolm Jenkins on why he decided to stay in tunnel during national anthem
“I want the conversation to be about the issues, not about the anthem and whether its the right time or wrong time. There’s a lot of work being done. I want that to be the focus”#FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/PMqg9EuAH7
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 17, 2018
Jenkins also wore a t-shirt on Thursday proclaiming “You Aren’t Listening.”
The NFL and the players are reportedly still trying to work together to determine a mutually agreeable policy to govern the protests. The meetings came only after the league launched an attempt to ban protests on the field but then put that policy on hold when players complained that they were not part of the process to create the rule.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.