Eagles' Jenkins: Headlines, spotlight won't stop activism
SUNBURY-ON-THAMES, England (AP) — Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins does not believe the heated exchange he had with the Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid diminishes the impact of his fight for racial and social justice.
Jenkins, the face of the Players' Coalition, and Reid, a former member, shouted at each other during and after the Eagles' 21-17 home loss on Sunday.
Reid branded Jenkins a "sellout" after the game and said he "co-opted the movement" started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick because the group of players has chosen to work with the NFL to further its cause.
"What happens on the field or whatever headlines, that (work) doesn't stop," Jenkins said Friday after the Eagles completed their final practice prior to a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Sunday. "There's been work all across the country in so many different areas and by so many players that an incident like that, it might grab headlines and it might grab the attention of what people want to report, but the work that we do has never been contingent upon what we do.
"Right now, the big focus is on voting and getting people out to the polls this November and we continue to do that. We've got people doing PSAs, writing op-eds, getting involved with the issues in their local markets, and so no, I don't think it's a distraction at all."
Reid, who joined Carolina last month, broke away from the coalition a year ago in part because of its support from the league. The NFL plans to commit $90 million over the next seven years to further social causes.
Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, a member of the coalition, responded on Thursday to Reid's comments, saying he does not recognize that the group is "making true changes" with its advocacy.
Jenkins, who chose not to address Reid's comments after the game, said he was not aware of what Norman said but was proud he expressed his support publicly.
"The support most likely comes because everything we're doing is not just me," Jenkins said. "Obviously, I think as kind of leader, my face gets put out there and my name gets repeated over and over again, but it's a coalition for a reason.
"There are guys all around the league that are doing work, whether directly or indirectly, because of us, and I think that's something to be proud of. I think Josh is obviously one of those guys that is happy to be a part of the things that we're doing."
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