Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles Teammates Push for Criminal Justice Reform in Harrisburg

Fresh off Monday Night Football win, Eagles players push lawmakers for criminal justice reform.

A group of Philadelphia Eagles players went from the Monday Night Football field to the state capitol Tuesday.

Fresh off their victory over the Washington Redskins, safety Malcolm Jenkins, wide receiver Torrey Smith and defensive end Chris Long headed to Harrisburg to meet with legislators to discuss criminal justice reform.

The players, through their group The Players Coalition, have been advocating for reforms to Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system.

"It takes a lot of sacrifice but the ball has been rolled and that's a good thing," Jenkins said. "We've seen other guys getting involved in their communities, other teams, other players. And, a lot of that comes from leading by example."

Jenkins has already brought NFL officials and Philadelphia police face-to-face, has testified before Congress and writes a weekly column on criminal justice reform. He admits the work keeps him busy but says reforming social justice is too big an issue to ignore.

“I believe wholeheartedly in what I’m doing,” Jenkins said.

Part of Jenkins' activism has included raising his fist during the national anthem before games. He began doing so after Colin Kaepernick first raised social injustice issues with his national anthem protest. After joining the Eagles this season, Long has joined Jenkins' protest by placing his arm on his teammate's shoulder.

Long has also pledged to donate his entire salary (around $1 million) this season to various education charities including some in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia following deadly violent protests there.

Pennsylvania lawmakers are debating the Clean Slate Act — a bill that if law would seal the records of non-violent criminal offenders.

"That gives people the opportunity to live the American dream," Jenkins said. "To get sustainable jobs, to start businesses, to live where they want, provide for their families and create opportunity."

It's the effort of Republican Scott Wagner who is challenging for governor this year.

Wagner has been quoted as saying more of Pennsylvania's working-age population has some sort of criminal past and those records should be sealed from public view.

Jenkins and his teammates also addressed topics of ending mandatory minimum sentences and more transparency in policing.

"These are real Americans, real people, real lives that live this day in and day out," Jenkins said. "And politics shouldn't slow it down. So that's what we are here to do. To use our voices and our influence to push things along in the right direction."

They also took plenty of photos with lawmakers who bleed green for the Eagles.

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