Jenkins Reaches Goal, Ends Protest
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — In theory, any protest should have a goal.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has reached his objective and confirmed Thursday that he will no longer raise his right fist in the air during the national anthem before each game, a practice which began last season in an effort to bring awareness to systemic social-justice issues in the African-American community.
The leader of a coalition of NFL players fighting for reform has decided to halt what has become a controversial demonstration after the NFL outlined plan to donate nearly $100 million over a seven-year period to various nonprofit organizations working toward similar goals in African-American communities.
"It's an individual decision for me," Jenkins claimed. "I felt like why I started was to draw awareness, and so I feel like if the league is providing a way for me to amplify that awareness and that platform, I just don't see the need to continue."
The coalition, though, has been fractured by at least two different players, San Francisco's Eric Reid and Miami's Michael Thomas, with Reid claiming the NFL is trying to "buy" an end to protests during the anthem, which some believe is at least partially responsible for softening television ratings around the league.
"It's apparent the NFL is trying to buy an end to the protests," Reid said, according to The New York Times.
Jenkins, however, denied an end to the protests was tied to the money although it's undeniable that the league has been angling to find a way to stop the protests, which began when former 49ers quarterback decided to kneel during the anthem last season.
That was proved to be true when Anquan Boldin, the former Pro Bowl receiver, leading the coalition with Jenkins tweeted out a copy of the agreement:
"All of this really is in good faith, and I think if the league continues to come through or deliver on their word, then I see no need to go back to what I was doing," Jenkins said.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen