AMERICAN football player Malcolm Jenkins continued his silent protest against the United States national anthem on Thursday night, challenging those “who stay silent to be courageous and use your platforms to become part of the solution.”
Jenkins was one of the many players who supported quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season, who knelt before games to raise awareness of racial injustice and police brutality in the US.
Kaepernick has been unable to find a team since walking away from the San Francisco 49ers in January and has since said that, should he return, he will stop his protest.
However, Philadelphia Eagles safety Jenkins, who raised his fist last season and continued to do so during the anthem before Thursday night’s pre-season defeat to the Green Bay Packers, plans to continue standing up for those oppressed in the US.
“Last season, I raised my fist as a sign of solidarity to support people, especially people of colour, who were and are still unjustly losing their lives at the hands of officers with little to no consequence.
“After spending time with police officers on ride-alongs, meeting with politicians on the state and federal level and grassroots organisations fighting for human rights, it’s clear that our criminal justice system is still crippling communities of color through mass incarceration,” Jenkins said in a statement.
“With the new call for a war on crime and drugs, the disproportionate oppression of poor communities and communities of colour will continue unless legislative efforts and community engagement are made a priority.
“I’ve seen signs of life with regards to bipartisan support for criminal justice reform, but the support does not reflect the necessary urgency for real reform. This must be made a priority.”
Last week, Jenkins labelled team owners who wouldn’t sign Kaepernick because of potential fan backlash as “cowards,” and on Thursday added that he, along with other players still working in the NFL, will not be “easily moved or deterred from fighting for justice.”
“As the blowback against those who stand up for what is right thickens, I feel it is necessary to push forward with a relentless determination. I want to send a message that we will not easily be moved or deterred from fighting for justice.
“There are many players across the league who have joined me in working toward new legislation and re-establishing trust and opportunities in our communities, and you can expect to see much more of that.
“I want to thank the fans across the country who have supported me in this effort to fight for equality and justice. I want to thank those that have dedicated their lives to this fight, as I know that it is not easy.
“And I want to challenge those who stay silent to be courageous and use your platforms to become part of the solution.”
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