Safety Malcolm Jenkins and a few teammates raised their fist during the national anthem before the Eagles vs. Bears game on Monday Night Football to protest the treatment of African Americans and minorities in the United States.
Jenkins spoke about his motivations and goals of the protest following the game.
Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell also addressed the protest on Comcast's Eagles Postgame Live with former linebacker Seth Joyner. You can watch that clip above.
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“Normally I think sports and politics don’t mix but I think Malcolm Jenkins and the other players have every right to do what they did," Rendell said. "I was impressed that Malcolm said this wasn’t a reflection on the military or on the police in general, but there are serious issues and this is a great country because everyone can say what they want and express opinions. Is it appropriate to do this at a sporting event? Maybe not but on the other hand it’s the place where it gets the most attention. I think what Colin Kaepernick and other players have done has probably started more discussion about these issues than anything that can happen on the news side.”
Rendell is referring to the trend of NFL players protesting during the national anthem which was started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“I am extraordinarily impressed with Kaepernick who, I don’t know if everybody knows it, but he’s donated a million dollars of his salary to causes he cares about. Boy, that’s the first time I’ve seen an athlete do that and I think that’s impressive to see him put his money where his mouth is.”
In addition to Kaepernick vowing to donate $1 million of his salary to the community, the 49ers organization has also vowed to donate $1 million to organizations that focus on racial and social inequalities.
“These are serious issues, this isn’t anything frivolous,” Rendell said. “These are serious issues that need to be discussed and it needs to be examined. There’s a term that was applied to Gregory Peck first, that he ‘used his celebrity well.’ They were referring to the fact that Peck took on some social issues including gun violence and antisemitism through his celebrity. Ball players have the opportunity to do that. More young Americans probably watch the ball players protest than ever thought about these issues before.”
“I’m not against it. Remember, this may be the only country in the world where people can do that and do it freely.”