Malcolm Jenkins marches in Philadelphia with Protesters

Kyle T. Mosley

New Orleans Saints S Malcolm Jenkins joined a peaceful march in Philadelphia on Sunday. On June 9th, he will be the keynote speaker for the Philadelphia School District's virtual graduation ceremony.  Jenkins has always been an advocate for education and civil rights, shared his views on the death of George Floyd and police brutality on Twitter. The march went into Center City, where it has been one of Philadelphia's hardest-hit areas from the days of rioting after Floyd's demise.

George Floyd died after an arrest because of suspected forgery of a check. His treatment by four police officers in Minneapolis, MN, has led Jenkins to become vocal on the matter. On May 27th, Jenkins posted a video on Twitter to express his displeasure for the lack of formal charges and arrests of the four police officers whom many consider responsible for the death of George Floyd. Since Jenkins' Twitter post, the four officers were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department. Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, has been charged by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Jenkins's video message was prophetic when he said, "civil unrest, now sure to come." Floyd died on May 25th. Terminations and arrests on May 28th and 29th, respectively. Minneapolis citizens called for faster action from the Hennepin County DA's office, but the officers' arrests were not urgent, and rioting commenced the following night.   

The mistreatment of African-Americans, specifically African-American males, by law enforcement officers, has been chronicled and discussed since before the Civil Rights Movement began in the 1950s and 1960s.  Malcolm Jenkins spoke of the "people fighting for ways to protect themselves is not going to be the responsibility of the people" should garner the attention of lawmakers and enforcers. But, also, the NFL. What will be the response of coaches and the owners?  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released the following message addressing the death of George Floyd and riots:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's Statement of George Floyd's Death

On podcast titled "NFL’s Racism Runs Deep, All the Way to the Super Bowl" with Marc Steiner and Dave Zirin, Steiner said, "70% of players are Black" in the National Football League. Yet, the league has only three African-American head coaches, and one Hispanic head coach. Those are staggering numbers in 2020. There are no majority owners of color. To date, no official statements have been released from NFL team owners, general managers, and only one head coach, Miami Dolphins Brian Flores, who has spoken on the current civil unrest in America. Some NFL fans are noticing the silence from front-offices.

It is the hope of many within the sports community desiring real change will precipitate from the chaos. Malcolm Jenkins' words rang with the truth when he said, "we are tired of begging you to see our humanity, we're tired of begging you not to kill us and murder us. So whatever this looks like moving forward, it is not on us."

Hopefully, those in charge of the NFL will continue their support of a real change in the country. Professional football in the United States is a sport comprised of young African-American young men. 70% of the NFL players, African-Americans, have their humanity challenged every day away from the protection of the stadiums, practice facilities, and team headquarters. They may need to hear a more vocal way of support from the owners; to know they genuinely have their respect as humans and not commodities which help yield billions of dollars per year.


Editorial / Opinion