Malcolm Jenkins and two other Philadelphia Eagles players raised their fists during the national anthem before their game against the Chicago Bears Monday night. Jenkins was joined by defensive end Steven Means and cornerback Ron Brooks in the protest.
Jenkins had said Saturday that he would lead teammates in a demonstration against social injustice though he insisted the protest would not be "an anti-police thing.”
"I was very clear: It's not an anti-police thing. In fact, the police are a key part of the solution in this issue," Jenkins said after practice Saturday . "It has nothing to do with the military, nothing to do with the flag itself. If you listen, the message has been the same across the board. The police are a key part of the solution, in this issue, across the nation."
Earlier, Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he would participate if there's a teamwide protest. But Jenkins said there were "mixed feelings" among the players, so the demonstration wouldn't include everyone.
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"If they want to do something teamwide, I'd definitely be for that," Pederson said. "I think it just shows unity and there's no division that way. I think it sends a great message, from our standpoint. We love this country and what it represents and the flag and the national anthem and everything. Listen, we're not perfect, obviously, and for us to stand sort of united that way, I'd be OK for that."
Jenkins, a Pro Bowl safety last season, said the team didn't protest before the season opener last week out of respect because it was 9/11. He said he's spoken to 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick and told him he's proud of him.
"Whenever you're trying to change something, there's no comfortable way to change it," Jenkins said. "If somebody gets upset, then it's probably because they're not listening."