PHILADELPHIA – Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins resumed his protest against social injustice during the playing of the national anthem prior to Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Defensive end Chris Long put his arm around Jenkins in a sign of support, as he did for much of last season. Defensive back De’Vante Bausby also raised a fist. Defensive end Michael Bennett appeared on the field during the playing of the anthem and walked behind his teammates, most of whom were lined up along the sideline.
Jenkins stopped his protest after the Players Coalition, which he co-founded, joined in a partnership with the league in November that calls for the NFL to contribute $89 million over seven years to projects dealing with criminal justice reform, law enforcement/community relations and education.
But the owners approved a new national anthem policy in May that requires players to stand if they are on the field during the anthem, and fines a team for any protest by its players. The league decided to put a temporary hold on the implementation of that policy while it works with the NFL Players Association towards a resolution.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones later stated that his team policy requires his players to stand on the field for the national anthem no matter what rule the league ultimately settles on, prompting Jenkins to describe Jones as a “bully.”
“There’s always this kind of, speaking out of both ends from the league, [like] we support our players but then you put in a policy to take away their voices. Hopefully you’ll have the majority of owners speak out on whatever side of this that they actually stand,” Jenkins said in late July.
“When you have owners like Jerry Jones who speak so strongly and who has drawn his line in the sand and has been very vocal about it, and you’ve had other owners be very quiet, Jerry Jones is now the voice of NFL ownership. So unless you have some other owners come out with some definitive statements and support, they’re going to allow Jerry Jones to push the narrative of not only NFL owners but NFL as a whole.”