Malcolm Jenkins headed a protest with two of his Philadelphia Eagles teammates Monday night. Jenkins, Ron Brooks and Steven Means raised their fists as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played. The action followed a slew of other NFL protests spotlighting police brutality against African-Americans, and hateful tweets followed.
The display took place before the Eagles’ Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears in Illinois.
Ahead of the matchup, Jenkins told WIP about why the team planned to join the demonstration launched by Colin Kaepernick.
“Really, it’s just to continue to push for the conversation about social injustice,” he said. “And that’s a range of things from police brutality to wages and job opportunities to education.”
In an interview with PhillyVoice, Jenkins maintained he has “great respect for the police and military,” which is why he did not protest during the Sept. 11 game against the Cleveland Browns.
“If it comes down to making somebody uncomfortable by speaking the truth, then I’ll always make you uncomfortable with the truth, [rather] than make you feel comfortable with a lie,” he added.
His dedication to making “somebody uncomfortable” worked.
On Twitter, many expressed their dissatisfaction with the NFL safety and re-ignited claims for #BoycottNFL.
Rsherwin said he “loves” football but said he “will not watch [it] again” in favor of police and America.
I love football! But since me Eagles are joining in the protest I will not watch again till it is stopped. We must support police and USA
— rsherwin (@rsherwin2) September 20, 2016
Marc Gratkowski stood against Eagles’ Coach Doug Pederson’s support of the protest.
“If the Eagles don’t stand, I can’t support the Eagles anymore. Won’t watch, attend, buy merch,” Gratkowski wrote.
@Eagles There are other ways to protest. If the Eagles don't stand, I can't support the Eagles any more. Won't watch, attend, buy merch.
— Marc Gratkowski (@mgratk) September 17, 2016
Parody account @DrunkCutler hoped the protest involved “driving their team bus into Lake Michigan.”
Eagles are supposed to do some form of team protest before the game. I'm hoping it involves driving their team bus into Lake Michigan
— Jay Cutler (@DrunkCutler) September 19, 2016
Andrew Lee called the Eagles’ protest an “absolute disgrace” after a gunman opened fire on two local officers – one a Black woman and the other a white Man – on Friday, according to Philly.com.
It's an absolute disgrace to the city of Philadelphia that 3 days after an assassination attempt on philly cops the @Eagles wanna protest
— Andrew Lee (@andy_lee63) September 19, 2016
Meanwhile, an especially vile reaction emerged on Snapchat.
A freshman at Christian college Belmont University earned an expulsion because of the “comments rooted in racism,” according to the school’s Facebook page.
Still, Jenkins and the Eagles enjoyed support from at least one football fan.
One of those supporters included a Bears devotee.
“Proud of ’em,” wrote Jakobi Wiliams.
@divafeminist im a die hard bears fan but these players got no principles. Gotta back the eagles 2 support the protest!!! Proud of em
— Jakobi Williams (@jakobiwill) September 20, 2016