Instead of speaking, Malcolm Jenkins holds up signs at his locker to get his message across. pic.twitter.com/mg9JdhFgYZ— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) June 6, 2018
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins sent a powerful message to President Donald Trump and the entire world without saying a single word.
One day after his team was disinvited from visiting the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl victory, Jenkins stood in front of a crowd of reporters while holding up about a dozen signs defending athletes who kneel during the national anthem with facts about how racial inequality affects people of color and what players are doing to incite change.
A few of Jenkins’ signs read:
- "You aren't listening"
- "More than 60% of people in prison are people of color"
- "Any given night 500,000 sit in jail. Convicted? No. Too Poor? Yes #EndCashBail"
- "Chris Long gave his entire year's salary to educational initiatives"
- "Colin Kaepernick gave $1 million to charity"
- "Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Matt Slater, and Johnson Bademosi lobbied to raise the age from 7 to 12 entering the criminal justice system"
- "in 2018 439 people shot and killed by police (thus far)"
Jenkins was one of the many players who planned to opt out of the White House visit before it was canceled.
You Aren’t Listening! pic.twitter.com/5ti8HU2Cq0— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) June 6, 2018
You Aren’t Listening! pic.twitter.com/41llVxwDEq— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) June 6, 2018
While Jenkins was the only team member to remain totally silent, many of the other players didn’t have much to say themselves when asked by reporters about being disinvited by Trump.
"I have, like, three years of quotes about me and Donald Trump," defensive end Chris Long said. "I'm not going to keep going down that road, respectfully. I'm on to minicamp."
"I'm not going to touch on it," said offensive lineman Jason Kelce. "At this point, it doesn't matter."
Kelce did, however, respond to the White House’s assertion that the Eagles “decided to abandon their fans” by planning to send only a small group of players to the celebration.
"I think our fans know good and well how we feel about them," Kelce said. "We are a lot closer knit than most other cities are with their teams."
People on Twitter applauded Jenkins for putting the spotlight on issues that are much more important than an invitation to Trump's chaotic White House and are at the root of this entire controversy.
So much respect for @MalcolmJenkins & his continued efforts to bring attention to these issues. He’s right, too many of us only pay attention to points of conflicts instead of the very serious issues that started all of this.— Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) June 6, 2018
We all need less “winning” & more working together. https://t.co/mN66I6Av7e
Once again: these athletes aren’t “disrespecting the flag and Trump,” they’re actually putting their money where their mouths are and trying to make change. https://t.co/suSyuvdOo4— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) June 6, 2018
The “you aren’t listening” sign could be the cover of the documentary on this entire issue. https://t.co/W7fvNsqU3i— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) June 6, 2018
There has not been a better representative for Philadelphia in my lifetime than Malcolm Jenkins. Go argue with your dog— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) June 6, 2018
One of the most unique powerful interviews of all time ! Respect https://t.co/dWsS62Nj2M— Justin Hardee (@jhardee_19) June 6, 2018
Malcolm Jenkins has answered thousands of questions over the last few years about national anthem protests.— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) June 6, 2018
Today, he tried a new method to get across a message he has been trying to send by protesting but plenty of people keep ignoring. #Eagles https://t.co/LUBuz9W3MT
The lack of response from the Eagles' locker room during their interviews suggests that if Trump isn't going to respect athletes' freedom of speech, then they are simply going stop speaking altogether and let their actions speak for them.