Three days after two of the leading supporters of unemployed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick bickered on the field, one of the two says he has no doubt that Kaepernick “is being blackballed.”
The comments from Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins come amid his feud with Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid.
In a protest against police brutality, and to show support for people of color he says are oppressed in the U.S., Kaepernick began sitting on the bench during the national anthem in 2017 preseason games. That led to him kneeling during the anthem.
The Jenkins-Reid fissure is rooted in the agreement between the nonprofit Players Coalition and the NFL. Both players were part of the coalition, but Reid left amid concerns about its agenda.
While the NFL agreed to provide almost $100 million for causes considered important to people in African-American areas, Reid argued that Kaepernick, and his drive for social justice, should have played a stronger role in forging the agreement.
Reid, who continues to kneel during the national anthem, has said he believes Jenkins “co-opted with the movement that was started by Colin to get his organization started. It was cowardly. He sold us out.”
Jenkins views Kaepernick’s situation and the social justice push as separate issues, and his comments on Wednesday came back to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, while also taking a dig at the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“While our main focus is always on the community and those systemic oppressions, how we can leverage our relationships, our access and resources to help people in everyday communities, there is still a responsibility to speak out on Colin Kaepernick, who started this movement and still doesn’t have a job,” Jenkins said.
“I wholeheartedly believe he is being blackballed, to speak out in support of Eric Reid, who put his job on the line to fight for those who didn’t have a voice,” Jenkins said.
“I can turn on the tape this week and our opponent and see Colin Kaepernick deserves a job,” Jenkins added, referring to the Jaguars, whom the Eagles will play on Sunday in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars, who went to the AFC Championship Game last season, are 3-4 this season, and quarterback Blake Bortles was benched early in the second half of last week’s 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans.
While Bortles has been announced as the starter for this Sunday’s game in London, he will be “on a short leash,” according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
—Field Level Media