Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and recently retired NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin posted a video Wednesday via the MMQB explaining the motivations behind the demonstrations that have taken place during the national anthem.
“One of the many things that make our country great is that it was founded on the idea of justice for all,” Boldin said. “And we feel that it’s our responsibility to take a stand against the injustices that we see happening in America right now.”
Jenkins said he would be raising his fist to stand a stand for racial equality “and a much needed reform to our criminal justice system.”
Jenkins and Boldin are fighting a very specific battle.
Boldin said that they wanted to put an end to the money-bail system, which unjustly punishes the poor. Jenkins said, “We’re fighting to pass Clean Slate legislation in the state of Pennsylvania that would automatically seal non-violent misdemeanor records after 10 years.”
“We’re looking for police accountability so we can rebuild trust and work together to make our communities safer,” Boldin said. “This is about lifting up our communities and treating them with the dignity and support they deserve.”
“Whether you think it is a protest or a demonstration, really, it doesn’t matter,” Jenkins told the MMQB. “As long as we are keeping these conversations going long enough to redirect some of that attention to the work, to the actual call to action, it’s worth it.”
Boldin also explained why he didn’t do anthem protests.
Boldin told the MMQB that he didn’t necessarily like how he saw other anthem demonstrations were perceived by people.
“The reason I didn’t [participate in an anthem demonstration] was seeing the way people took that and ran with it and never talked about the issues. I didn’t want to give people an excuse to not deal with the issues that we are dealing with,” He said. “Because when people brought it up, the only thing they wanted to say was, Well, you are disrespecting the anthem, you are disrespecting the flag.”
In Boldin’s mind, that wasn’t the way to go. Because he felt that the main message was one of disrespect towards the flag, when people ignored the reason why those demonstrations were being made.
Jenkins also said that he considered changing his method this season but said “nothing else has been that effective” in comparison to the anthem protest.
They’ve been putting in plenty of work behind the scenes.
Jenkins and Boldin spent three days in Washington, D.C. during the month of April fighting for criminal justice reform, along with Donte Stallworth, and Johnson Bademosi.
While there, they saw the inner workings of Congress firsthand, as they attempt to help bring change to the issues that they would like to see resolved.
With the 2017 NFL season nearing, Jenkins and Boldin’s video let’s everybody know that last season’s demonstrations were just the start of their activism.
“Athletes have been doing this work for a long time. We just don’t hear about it, and it doesn’t get the same kind of hype,” Jenkins said. “That’s where these demonstrations are useful, because regardless of how you feel about them, they keep that conversation going.”