For Pete's Sake

Eagles’ Chris Long puts arm around Malcolm Jenkins during anthem protest

Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins raised his fist and teammate defensive end Chris Long put his arm around Jenkins during the national anthem before a preseason game against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday.
Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins raised his fist and teammate defensive end Chris Long put his arm around Jenkins during the national anthem before a preseason game against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday. Tribune News Services

During the national anthem before the Eagles’ preseason game against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night, Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins raised his right fist in protest over racial injustice, as he’s done since last season.

This time, Eagles teammate Chris Long put his arm around Jenkins in a show of support.

“I just told Malcolm, ‘I’m here for you,’ Long told Philly.com. “I think it’s a good time for people that look like me to be here for people that are fighting for equality.”

Seattle’s Michael Bennett, who has been sitting down during the national anthem, told ESPN on Wednesday that he hoped a white player would take a stand.

“It would take a white player to really get things changed,” Bennett told ESPN, “because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it … it would change the whole conversation. 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.”

Long, who attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, said he would never sit during the anthem, but he would be there for his teammates.

“It’s been a hard week for everybody,” Long told Philly.com. “I think it’s not just a hard week for someone being from Charlottesville. It’s a tough week for America. I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘You need white athletes to get involved in the anthem protest.’ I’ve said before that I’ll never kneel for an anthem because the flag means something different to everybody in this country, but I support my peers.”

Jenkins was grateful for what Long did.

“This is a moment in time where he feels the need to kind of take that step and lead, and I appreciate that,” Jenkins told Philly.com.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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