The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t going to win any conservative fans after they nominated a National Anthem protester as their nominee for NFL Man of the Year.
Last year, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins began protesting during the National Anthem to raise awareness of “racial injustice.” He would not kneel during the anthem, but instead, raised a fist while it played. He insisted that the protest was not meant to disrespect the anthem, as his father is a veteran and he has a number of family members in the military and law enforcement. However, many still saw the move as a slight against all who have served.
Every year, the NFL awards the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award to a player who exemplifies the commitment of service to the community, to make things better for others, like the Chicago Bear legend did. Every NFL team nominates one of their players for the award. This season, the Eagles chose to nominate Jenkins.
Jenkins actually ended his protest of the anthem in November, after the NFL pledged to donate nearly $100 million to social justice and racial equality efforts. Other anthem protesters accused him of selling out his principles for money. He claimed it was a show of good faith that the NFL was looking to change things.
Jenkins did not win the Man of the Year Award, however. JJ Watt of the Houston Texans, who organized fundraising for hurricane relief, won the award.
Here is the text of the press release from the Eagles naming Jenkins as the team’s nominee. It noticeably does not mention his protests.
The Philadelphia Eagles have named safety Malcolm Jenkins as their nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
Considered one of the league’s most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding community service activities off the field as well as excellence on the field.
Three of the 32 nominees will be selected as finalists for the national award, renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back. Finalists will be announced in January 2018.
“I’m so proud to be the Philadelphia Eagles’ nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award,” Jenkins said.
“I think it’s important for athletes on any level, but especially pro athletes, to use their platform for more than themselves, more than the monetary gains, but to really make an impact.”
Jenkins leads the team tied for the best record in the NFL with 93 tackles. He also has two interceptions and a sack.
One of the best free agent signings in Eagles history, Jenkins has four interception returns for touchdowns since joining the team in 2014 which ranks second just behind Eric Allen for most in the team record book.
In 2015, Jenkins earned his first Pro Bowl nomination after career highs in tackles (120), pass deflections (15), and forced fumbles (3).
Jenkins was previously recognized for his community work back in February as the recipient of the NFLPA’s Byron “Whizzer” White Award. Jenkins joined Eagles Hall of Famers Brian Dawkins, Troy Vincent, and Reggie White as previous winners.
Vincent and fellow Eagles Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael are former winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.