The protest against the National Anthem by NFL players grew by one this week, with a surprising addition. The protest gained its first white player to its unpatriotic cause on Thursday evening. Many football fans may not be familiar with his name, but most will recognize his famous father, an NFL Hall of Famer.
With Colin Kaepernick out of football, it fell to new players to continue his “tradition” of disrespecting the National Anthem. Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders and Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks sat out the anthem last weekend, causing a major firestorm among football fans nationwide. This week, it was Malcolm Jenkins, safety for the Philadelphia Eagles. For a preseason game on Thursday night, Jenkins did not disrespect the anthem by kneeling or sitting. He disrespected it by holding up a raised fist – symbolizing “black power” – as the anthem played.
Before the game, Bennett said attitudes on anthem protests would change the minute a white player joined in. Technically, they already did have a white player dating back to last season. Kaepernick, despite his rhetoric and complaints over his treatment over the color of his skin, is half-white. He just doesn’t like to embrace it. Of course, he isn’t actually playing now either, so he isn’t a player now. Technically.
Jenkins did get an active white player to join his protest. Eagles teammate Chris Long joined him in his sideline protest, standing beside him with his arm around him. Long did not make the “black power” gesture, but did hold his hand over his heart. Essentially, he tried to play it both ways.
(Michael) Bennett, who has been sitting during anthems, said on SportsCenter that that “it would take a white player to really get things changed.”
“It would change the whole conversation,” he added. “Because when you bring somebody who doesn’t have to be a part of [the] conversation making himself vulnerable in front of it, I think when that happens, things will really take a jump.”
In the article, Long discussed his stance on the anthem with the media.
“I’ve said before that I’ll never kneel for an anthem because the flag means something different for everybody in this country, but I support my peers,” Long added. “If you don’t see why you need allies for people that are fighting for equality right now, I don’t think you’ll ever see it… Malcolm is a leader and I’m here to show support as a white athlete.”
“I don’t know if that’s what these people are trying to incite, but it’s working. It pisses you off,” he said, before going on to criticize President Trump’s defense of the white supremacists who had gathered in Charlottesville.
“I wish he’d categorically spoken out against white supremacy,” Long said.
In a statement released last week, Jenkins said that he plans to raise his fist during anthems this season to protest the mass incarceration of people of color.
“Last season, I raised my fist as a sign of solidarity to support people, especially people of color, who were and are still unjustly losing their lives at the hands of officers with little to no consequence,” he said. “After spending time with police officers on ride-alongs, meeting with politicians on the state and federal level and grass roots organizations fighting for human rights, it’s clear that our criminal justice system is still crippling communities of color through mass incarceration.”
After the game, Long criticized how the President handled the Charlottesville situation. “I don’t think the President did a good enough job of striking it down,” he said.
Long was a member of the Patriots last season, and won the Super Bowl with them. Afterward, he refused to attend the team’s ceremonial White House visit, because he did not support Donald Trump.
As many conservatives would expect, ESPN gave Chris Long and the other anthem protesters positive coverage. ESPN has been highly criticized for their liberal leanings in recent years, as they have promoted a left-leaning agenda and injected politics into sports at every turn. Their positive coverage of Colin Kaepernick’s protests and the awarding of an ESPY Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner were the most glaring examples of this shift.
Here is video of ESPN’s coverage.
Chris Long may not be an NFL superstar, but his father is NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long. Howie once played for the Oakland Raiders and in addition to an acting career, is currently a member of Fox’s NFL broadcast team. Howie has not commented on his son’s political stance.