The debate about the pregame playing of the national anthem is gathering heat with the added voice of Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles. He has made his own statement concerning the protest against racial discrimination by raising a fist.
Not to be left behind by Jenkins is his fellow player, Chris Long who on Thursday night showed support to Jenkins when he placed his hand on the shoulder of Jenkins. Although when it happened it seemed a minor gesture, the message it sent could significantly affect the course of the raging debate about the anthem.
Interestingly, Long is the only white to come out openly in support of Jenkins and all other black players like Colin Kaepernick who up to date have kept up fierce protest about the anthem during the NFL. That is why his support might have great impact.
After the game, Chris Long said that he thought it was a good time for individuals that look like him to be there for everyone fighting against injustices. Long candidly gave a verbal lashing about the two sided prevarication by President Trump concerning the fatal riots that took place the previous weekend. Long graduated from University of Virginia and he strongly feels that his home town is Charlottesville.
He further said that the week has been tough for everyone, and he thought that it wasn’t just tough for people who come from Charlottesville, but it was a hard week for the entire nation. He admitted that he has heard many people say that many white sportsmen needed to join hands in the anthem remonstration. He concluded by saying that although he supported his peers, he has repeatedly said that he will not go down on his knees for the anthem because in the country the flag symbolized different things to people.
Anticipating criticism from radio sports call-ins and from the comment sections of the world, he directed his words at them by saying that if people did not see why they needed allies for individuals fighting for justice presently, then they would never ever see the need. He said that he believed in Malcolm’s leadership and he was there to show solidarity as a white sportsman.
Jenkins is among a rising number of sportsmen who take a strong stance by using the nonviolent symbolic action of silently protesting the anthem to make their cause known. Kaepernick’s action cannot be attributed to a political protest because he is presently jobless, and it is hard to determine whether that is due to failing skills. Jenkins’ case is different because he is not only in position 90 on the top 100 list of NFL, but he is also a respected safety. He is not easy to dismiss from a football point of view just like his colleagues Marshawn Lynch who plays for Oakland and Seattle’s Michael Bennett.
Jenkins said when the game was over that it was not an easy thing to do to step out publicly due to the obvious attention that draws. A lot has changed negatively since last year and he thought the stakes were much higher. He wants a legacy of helping others.
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