Former Ohio State All-American safety Malcolm Jenkins has long been outspoken on racial and social justice issues as a leader in the National Football League. Now, he has his biggest platform to voice his opinion.
Jenkins confirmed a report from Variety.com's Brian Steinberg that he is joining CNN as a contributor on racial and social justice issues in America. He will contribute to studio shows across CNN’s multiple platforms and special programming, according to the announcement, while still playing in the NFL.
Jenkins has been in the news several times in recent weeks for his leadership in the fight against racial injustice in America. On June 4, he posted a viral video on Instagram responding to Drew Brees comments made during an interview with Yahoo Finance.
“Having spent years running non-profits and supporting grassroots organizations to address the inequalities of our criminal justice system, educational system and disparate wealth in our marginalized communities, I believe I can be a voice for other athlete activists and those who have dedicated their lives to changing legislation, policies, and reforms for human equality,” Jenkins said in a statement. “As we move forward from these moments, journalists must not make the grave mistake of allowing the world to go back to sleep. The groundswell of energy that has been injected into all of us must continue when the protests stop and that includes responsible reporting.
“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. 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 previously contributed op-eds to CNN.com, The New York Times and The Washington Post. In 2017, he and retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin created the Players Coalition, an independent advocacy group aimed at highlighting issues of racial and social equality. Jenkins was named the 2017 NFL Players Association's Alan Page Award winner for exceeding his normal call of duty in service to his community.
Jenkins signed a four-year, $32-million contract to return to the New Orelans Saints on March 23, 2020. He is a two-time Super Bowl Champion and a three-time Pro Bowl selection.