Every player on the Eagles stood for the national anthem before their 33-23 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. On most weekends, this would be assumed and not analyzed. But after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the "Star Spangled Banner" on Friday as a statement against racial injustice in the country, there was curiosity about whether any more players would follow his lead.
"For myself, we stand there and we stand for the national anthem," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "Sometimes, those thoughts go through your mind - do I actually want to acknowledge this? Because you might be upset about what's going on. But me, personally, I have a lot of friends that serve. My grandfather served. And this is a country that I love.
"So me not standing for the national anthem isn't really going to get the results that I want. I'd rather be doing something in the community, talking to people who can actually make some change. I think that's just my approach. But everyone has their own convictions."
Kaepernick told NFL Media after the 49ers-Packers game that he's "not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."
Jenkins, who is active in social issues, said he is similarly a person with conviction. He does not look at what Kaepernick did as "wrong," because that was Kaepernick's way of speaking out. But Jenkins disagreed with Kaepernick's strategy because the prevailing story is not awareness for the issues as much as the avenue Kaepernick chose.
"That's what's going to get talked about," Jenkins said. "It's not going to be about the lives that have been lost, the injustices that are being done to people of minorities all across this country. That's not going to be the headline. It's going to be about him."
Jenkins already has tried to raise awareness in different ways. He was among a group of players who met with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. in July to discuss the relationship between police officers and the communities they serve. He is not afraid to voice his dismay about the issues that Kaepernick sat on the bench for on Friday; he just doesn't think the national anthem was the best forum to stimulate change.
"I think a lot of what is going on in the country is outrageous, but I try to be careful: What are the outcomes I want to see and how do I go about that?" Jenkins said. "A lot of the times, in Kaepernick's situation, I don't know if he's going to get the outcome that he wants. He's standing up for what he believes in, but at the end of the day, all the headlines are going to be about him shaming the country and not supporting troops. And really, what he's trying to do in his heart is right. But trying to make sure your message is effectively communicated and you're actually putting yourself in a position to get the change you want."
Jenkins believes athletes have the platform to stand up for social issues. NBA players Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James have used their status to try to help. Jenkins said he couldn't act as if what's happening in the country doesn't apply to him when his whole family is dealing with the issues. He thinks professional athletes are realizing they can be a vehicle for change.
That's why he wasn't critical of Kaepernick's intention. He just disagreed with the method.
"It's a tough situation," Jenkins said. "But at the same time, if you have something you're passionate about and that's his way of expressing himself, then he's got all the right to do it."