Jenkins Stays on the High Road
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, took aim at trolls at the at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, imploring her constituency that "when they go low, we go high."
Too often people on both sides of the ideological aisle ignore Obama's advice but not Malcolm Jenkins, a leader on and off the football field in the Philadelphia area.
You can't prove a negative and perhaps that's why Jenkins has taken up permanent residence on the on the high road while recently signed Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid stews about all the progress the Eagles' Pro Bowl safety has made when it comes to addressing social justice issues that both players are ostensibly passionate about.
In Jenkins' case his actions tell the story and as the leader of the so-called NFL Players Coalition, the veteran has gotten owners to contribute nearly $100 million to causes the group is concerned with.
That's not good enough for Reid, however, who called the coalition an "NFL-funded subversion group" when he signed with the Panthers and went further after Carolina's stunning 21-17 comeback win over the Eagles on Sunday calling Jenkins “a sellout" and “a neo-colonialist.”
For those of you not indoctrinated into the self-importance of those jealous of the accomplishments of others, Reid is accusing Jenkins of using capitalism, globalization, and cultural imperialism to influence a developing group in lieu of direct military control.
Reid broke from the coalition when the owners promised to fund and only he can explain why funneling $90 million toward some of the issues he believes are caused by systemic oppression, although a good guess would probably be control of the funds so the cure to this version of neo-colanialism is steering the money in the direction he and Colin Kaepernick would approve of.
The one-sided feud reignited during the pre-game coin toss on Sunday when cameras caught Reid yelling at Jenkins, an Eagles' captain who eventually stepped toward Reid. The back-and-forth continued as teammates restrained Reid.
From there Reid was seen yelling at his own teammate Torrey Smith, the former Eagles receiver who remains close to Jenkins, while he also offered a staredown to Jenkins after a play near the bench in the first quarter and was in on dueling personal fouls with Zach Ertz after the latter tried to protect his quarterback Carson Wentz, who had just suffered a questionable hit at the hands of Reid.
Continuing to play the bully role after the game Reid remained talkative.
“We believe a lot of players should’ve stepped up for Colin (Kaepernick),” he said. “I believe Malcolm capitalized on the situation. He co-opted the movement that was started by Colin to get his organization funded. It’s cowardly. He sold us out.”
Others might say Jenkins steered an undisciplined movement away from sizzle and toward the steak.
Always classy, Jenkins refused to take the bait from a man who's resume can't compare to him, on or off the field.
“I would never get up here and say something bad about somebody who I know his intentions were real about helping their community, especially another black man,” Jenkins said when told about Reid's character assassination. “So I’m going to leave it there."
Although pressed with the low-hanging fruit Reid tempted him with Jenkins continued to stay above the fray.
“I’m not going to say anything negative about that man,” Jenkins said. “I respect him. I’m glad he has a job back in the league. I’m going to leave it like that.”
Reid, though, just threw more bombs.
“He knows what he has done. He knew what he was doing the entire time he was doing it. He had a goal, and that’s what he set out to do,” Reid assessed.
If that goal was to expose Eric Reid, mission accomplished.
"When they go low, Malcolm Jenkins stays high."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen