Eagles Malcolm Jenkins Explains What’s Next For The NFL Protests

Eagles Malcolm Jenkins Explains What’s Next For The NFL Protests

Originally, the “protest” from a disgruntled quarterback who was demoted to 3rd string and liked wearing socks featuring cops as pigs was about police brutality against Blacks (but failed to mention that roughly 50% of all U.S. murders were committed against Blacks with over 90% of the known killers being Black). So, of course we get mission creep, as Philadelphia Eagles player Malcolm Jenkins is given a platform at the Washington Post (and other outlets, such as Philly.com)

What protesting NFL players like me want to do next

A year ago, I was one of several NFL players who began demonstratingin the hope of sparking conversation about injustice in our country. That effort has now grown to include players and teams across the league, as we proclaim together that we believe in equality and justice for everyone. We understand that these conversations are often uncomfortable, but they are important for progress. Our demonstrations have never been about the symbols and traditions we use to honor America. They have been about us as citizens making sure we hold America to the ideals and promises that make this country great.

Except, there really hasn’t been a conversation, just slogans and annoying fans by disrespecting the flag, the nation, our military, and our first responders. And following the lead of Colin Kaepernick, who wore the pig socks, along with shirts loving Fidel Castro and Mao, not too mention donating $25,000 to a group that supports cop killer Assata Shakur.

But, let’s give Jenkins the benefit of the doubt, and see where he’s going with his mission creep

In the past year, more than 40 NFL players have joined Anquan Boldin, who retired this summer after 14 seasons, and me to form a Players Coalition dedicated to improving our criminal-justice system.

We want to lend our voices to changing this flawed system, which is crippling our nation and especially affects people who are poor or of color. We have gone on ride-alongs with police, visited Capitol Hill and talked with policy advocates and grass-roots organizers. We’ve learned first-hand about the problems we face. We’ve also learned that we aren’t alone. There are plenty of Republicans and Democrats, community leaders and members of law enforcement who agree.

We as citizens must make this work a priority. Consider our money-bail system. In 2016, police punched 58-year-old Gilbert Cruz in the face and arrested him for refusing to leave his own home during an investigation. Unable to make the $3,500 bail, Cruz spent more than two months in a Houston jail. By the time prosecutors finally dropped the case after concluding he had committed no crime, Cruz had lost his job, his car and almost his home.

While Jenkins and his group are aiming this reform along racial lines, let’s note two points. First, they are actually doing something in this push, not just yapping, complaining, and spreading awareness. They’re putting their time and money into this. Good for them.

Second, this is not just a hardcore leftist push. If you visit any media platform of hardcore leftist Democrat Senator Kamala Harris, you’ll see her pushing this. You’ll also see Republicans such as Rand Paul pushing this issue. Some, in pushback, have noted that bail is there to make sure that the accused does not flee prosecution. True. But, sometimes, the money-bail system goes to far, as Jenkins noted above. There certainly does need to be reform. If Rand Paul and Kamala Harris have joined forces, then this is something to consider, IMO.

But, more mission creep

The system punishes even after you’ve served your time. As many as 1 in 3 Americans has a criminal record. Criminal records keep people from getting jobs. Philadelphia native Ronald Lewis runs his own HVAC business, where he hires people from his neighborhood. But two misdemeanor convictions from 13 years ago continue to keep him from getting contracts that could help his business grow.

What the group wants is for records to be sealed on non-violent misdemeanors after 10 years. Good idea? Bad idea? It’s not something that can be immediately answered.

The system has unleashed an extraordinary burden on communities of color. Mass incarceration and the war on drugs have destroyed lives, families and whole communities for generations. Communities of color have also had to watch video after video of unarmed black men and women being handled without regard for their lives or well-being. As a black man, I see these images and I see myself; I wonder whether this will happen to me or one of my loved ones.

Well, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. This is where Jenkins et all should be out in the Black communities, showing there are better ways than shooting each other over crimes of disrespect. Because someone blew off your barbecue or looked at your girl is no reason to pull a gun and start shooting.

I’ve heard people say that my colleagues and I are un-American and unpatriotic. Well, we want to make America great. We want to help make our country safe and prosperous. We want a land of justice and equality. True patriotism is loving your country and countrymen enough to want to make it better.

The way to do it is not pissing off the people who pay good money to come to the stadium. Who buy merchandise. Who give up their time to watch the team play. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You catch more fans with hot wings and beer, rather than crapburgers and spoiled milk.

Oh, and perhaps NFL players should consider not committing so many crimes themselves.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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