Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is not interested in visiting the White House just so President Donald Trump can get a jersey and a photo-op to pretend that everyone loves him.
Jenkins and his Eagles teammates consistently kneeled in protest of racial injustice during the national anthem on several occasions throughout the 2017-2018 NFL season.
The anthem protests drew Trump’s ire and he repeatedly attacked the NFL and the players on Twitter and in speeches, all while ignoring what the players were protesting. Instead, Trump accused the players of being unpatriotic and disrespectful of the flag and the military.
So, it’s understandable why many Eagles players refuse to visit the White House later this year.
In an interview with Van Jones on CNN, Jenkins began by talking about the Players Coalition, a program in which players team up with the NFL to bring attention to the injustices of our criminal justice system and our economy and work to change both so that people of color in neighborhoods across the country get treated fairly by police and get equal opportunity to improve their lives.
As the co-founder of the program, Malcolm Jenkins is one of the players who have no desire to take a picture with Trump.
Jenkins explained that he’s already been to the White House as a member of the New Orleans Saints in 2010 when former President Barack Obama was in office, and that he’s just not interested in a photo-op.
“This is a celebratory event where we come, the President comes in, shakes a couple hands, takes a picture and leaves,” Jenkins explained. “And I’m just not interested in that.”
On the likelihood that he and his other teammates will be accused of being unpatriotic, Jenkins made it clear that he’s not excited about the prospect of being used as a prop by Trump.
“When it comes to this presidency, I’m not very excited about getting my picture taken with him. It’s just not worth my time. I’d rather spend my time working with whoever on these issues that we’ve been fighting for. That’s just my personal decision.”
On the other hand, Jenkins says that if Trump were actually committed to criminal justice reform, education, and economic equality, he would consider it a “responsibility” to talk to him about these issues.
“I mean, if I wouldn’t, then what is it that I’m trying to get accomplished?” Jenkins said. “So, if you can go directly to the President of the United States and talk about these issues that are plaguing our communities, I think that’s a responsibility for us regardless of how you feel about somebody on a personal level.”
Jenkins’ remarks drew a round of applause from the audience.
Here’s the video via YouTube.
Unlike Trump, Jenkins and his fellow players around the NFL are actually tackling racial injustice head-on. Trump has demonstrated that he is more interested in whining about the protests than he is in pursuing the reforms that the protests are about. And when it comes time for the White House ceremony, Trump will likely take shots at the players who snubbed him. But they’ll be hard at work doing something that actually makes a difference instead of taking photos with a racist who hates people because they are different.
Featured Image: YouTube screenshot