New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, who is also a vocal activist for racial equity, will join CNN as a regular commentator on social justice issues, Jenkins announced in a tweet Monday. “Proud to join the @CNN family today as a regular contributor. Looking forward to being heard. #blacklivesmatter #MoreThanAnAthlete,” he said in the tweet.
On the heels of the NFL’s virtual ban against Colin Kaepernick for deciding to kneel during the national anthem, Jenkins, then a Philadelphia Eagles safety, started raising his fist during the national anthem to similarly protest police brutality in 2017. According to The Washington Post, he continued to do so almost every regular-season game that year.
Jenkins, who is also the executive producer of the documentary “Black Boys,” has been similarly dedicated to calling for justice in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. Floyd died in police custody after a white Minneapolis cop kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.
“Now more than ever, the public needs to be educated on the roles of elected positions of power, such as the District Attorney, Police Chief or City Council and how to hold those individuals accountable, especially through their voice and their vote. In an important election year, I’m eager to join the CNN family and share my perspective as a regular contributor,” Jenkins said in a statement Variety magazine obtained. ”I also want to thank CNN for their thoughtful leadership in viewing professional athletes beyond their sport as another educated voice who brings a varied perspective and value to the network’s programming and shows.”
Jenkins has repeatedly called out other athletes and NFL executives in the league’s treatment of Kaepernick. When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently did an about-face, admitting “we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” Jenkins continued pressing for the league to apologize to Kaepernick directly. “Until they apologize specifically to Colin Kaepernick or assign him to a team, I don’t think that they will end up on the right side of history,” the safety told CNN.
He similarly responded to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees when he cited his grandfathers’ service as reasoning why he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
Jenkins posted video of himself giving his perspective on Twitter earlier this month: “Drew Brees, if you don’t understand how hurtful, how insensitive, your comments are, you are part of the problem,” Jenkins said. “To think that because your grandfathers served in this country and you have a great respect for the flag that everybody else should have the same ideals and thoughts that you do is ridiculous, and it shows that you don’t know history.
“Because when our grandfathers fought for this country and served and they came back, they didn’t come back to a hero’s welcome. They came back and got attacked for wearing their uniforms. They came back to people, to racism to complete violence.”
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