Malcolm Jenkins Opens up on Being Called Out By Peers: ‘It Comes With the Territory’

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has been one of the faces leading the NFL’s social justice movement. He explains to SI’s Amy Campbell how he got involved with the documentary “College Behind Bars,” which follows a dozen incarcerated men and women in New York State as they try to earn college degrees from the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). The film airs on PBS on November 25 at 9 PM ET/8 CT.
By Amy Campbell ,

The Philadelphia Eagles are preparing to face the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots this week, and Malcolm Jenkins didn’t use his one day off this week to relax. Instead, the Eagles safety came to New York City to continue his social impact work, hosting a powerful screening at the storied Apollo Theatre in Harlem. The documentary series College Behind Bars follows a dozen incarcerated men and women in New York State as they try to earn college degrees from the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). In between clips from the series during the screening, BPI graduates took the stage to share their own stories of how the program changed the trajectories of their lives.

Jenkins’s involvement in the project dates back to 2017. Knowing his involvement in advocacy efforts for criminal justice reform, producers of the documentary reached out and sent some clips to Jenkins to see if he was interested in learning more. For Jenkins, supporting and promoting the series was a no-brainer.

Also on his day off, Jenkins came by Sports Illustrated for an exclusive sit-down interview. In my role as the Eagles Team Reporter, I’ve gotten to know Malcolm a bit over the last couple of seasons. I’ve been so impressed with him as a player, leader, and person, and am thankful that he’s pushed me to see the world from new perspectives. It was an honor to attend the screening at the Apollo and to sit down with Malcolm for this conversation.

In this interview, Jenkins shares more about College Behind Bars & the Bard Prison Initiative, he opens up about how he handles being called-out by other players and on why he doesn’t like to comment on his well-documented differences with Panthers safety Eric Reid, and he gives us some insight on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’s development as a leader. 

He also shares about upcoming projects through his new production company, Listen Up Media, including the documentary Black Boys, which is set to premiere at South By Southwest media festival.


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