NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Three weeks after Drew Brees’ initial comments about kneeling during the national anthem in lieu of George Floyd’s death drew the ire of many teammates and fellow athletes, one of the main critics, Malcolm Jenkins, is viewing the conversation as a positive.
“I think my interaction with Drew is a microcosm to what we need to do as a country,” Jenkins said in an interview with Trevor Noah of the Daily Show. “That was the reason I posted it - me and Drew had talked before I posted that video and I had actually recorded it before we talked and I posted it because I thought this is something people need to see.”
“We for a long time have tried to put reconciliation before truth but when you do that, you don’t really see what is really oppressing people and really what the problems are and we try to move to a post-racial type of society and move on from our past without actually addressing the history and the way that our past pretty much paints the present and until we change the direction that we’re going and change the systems that were put in place in the past, we’ll alway be tethered to that. I think that starts with truth and hopefully this time that we get to sit still, because of COVID, people will take the time to really dive in to and listen to what people are talking about, to learn about our systems and how they’ve been not only oppressive in today’s context but over generations and that trauma and that dispossession and marginalization means in 2020.”
Jenkins is a founding member of the NFL Players Coalition and shared his views on the league’s progress in matters of social justice “I think that what any corporation or any business should be doing is, first, looking internally at how they run their own house,” he told Noah. “What are their demographics? When you look at the NFL, you have 75% of players are black. How many head coaches do you have that are black? How many GM’s do you have that are black? How many presidents do you have? Zero owners, zero presidents, I think there may be two or three GMs and less than four head coaches so those are immediate things they need to be looking at and addressing.”
“The second part is that it’s cool to put out statements and cut checks but where the NFL really has a lot of power is in their lobbying. They have owners that have money - they can just pull it out of the air. But what they do with that money is they lobby all the time for things that help their business interests. We’d love to see them take that same of power and clout and use it in the areas that players are standing up for, that players are protesting about. That is the biggest way that I think they can help players’ initiatives is from a legislative standpoint.”
Jenkins was hired by CNN in June to serve as a social justice contributor.