LET’S set the record straight. Malcolm Jenkins didn’t “sell out” the movement started by Colin Kaepernick. This is what he’s been accused of on more than one occasion, by reinstated NFL player (more on that later) Eric Reid. What Malcolm Jenkins and Torrey Smith did, was give legs and legitimacy to that very movement.
This has had my blood boiling for days now. So I needed to speak on it.
As a protest of police brutality, initially with its emphasis on Black victims, Kaepernick (then a 49ers QB) began a gesture of kneeling during our National Anthem. It was a not a protest of the anthem itself, but one meant to put a visual representation on the disenfranchisement of Blacks from the proper working of the justice system. It worked like a charm and his decision changed the course of American history.
Whatever your feelings on it at the time (these were mine), the gesture grabbed international attention. The eyes of the entire free world (over 200 countries, not just here), were upon the United States. Other football players, then athletes in other sports, then regular joes started to participate in the gesture. One of those players was Eric Reid, also with the 49ers at that time.
While many did, not every player or even team participated in the kneeling gesture. Absent an NFL policy regarding it, there was plenty of rancor over who could, should, would, and how to participate. One team that experienced no such rancor, was the Eagles. At no point during the 2017 season did the Eagles team kneel, sit, lay down or descend into controversy over the issue. In fact, what happened was two players, Jenkins and Smith, began a dialogue with law enforcement entities and politicians, even going to Capitol Hill on occasion.
Malcolm Jenkins and Torrey Smith turned what was mostly a distraction, into actual forward progress. Defensive End Chris Long joined in, and being a White player, helped stem the notion of this as just a Black problem, thus adding to the coalition. (Long also donated his 2017 base salary to charity, in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy.)
I mean, movement is the essence of a movement, right? You have to do more than kneel in place, right? Colin Kaepernick, since being black-balled from the NFL (let’s not pretend it’s anything else), uses his time to still be out-front and vocal about the issue.
We just discussed what Philadelphia Eagles players are doing.
Eric Reid on the other hand has done what exactly? The answer is, entirely nothing. (Aside from being willing to kneel, and wear “I’m With Kap” t-shirts. Way to go, Ace!)
Reid was also black-balled for a time. Did he go forth on his free time and spread the message? Did he promote the movement? No. He spent that time begging for a job, from the very league that he claims exploits its athletes. So Jenkins (since MARCH) had lobbied the NFL to stop black-balling Reid, (story here) . The Carolina Panthers finally gave Reid a contract in October, ending his exile. How did Reid repay Jenkins going to bat for him? By calling Jenkins a sell-out.
Here’s what’s funny. Torrey Smith who worked hand-in-glove with Jenkins, is now a Panther. He was already a Panther when Reid was signed. Does Reid call Smith a sell-out too? Did he call any of his other teammates sell-outs for not kneeling when he did, during his first week back? (He was the ONLY player to kneel on either sideline.)
The answer is “No”. He lacks the conviction to be that straight-up. If Reid came into that locker room with any static, he’d have been back on his couch before the ass-print faded. He simply doesn’t believe in his cause enough, to risk his opportunity to “be exploited”.
This is just a case of an ingrate, hothead, who wants to take shots at someone for being the sort of man that it never occurred to him to be. Eric Reid looks in the mirror and sees a guy who, when compared to Malcolm Jenkins, comes up short, both on AND off the field. It’s jealousy. It’s envy. It’s a small individual lashing out, because he knows deep down, the servitude that he decries, he actually craves. As evinced by his caterwauling to be let back into the NFL.
Now I ask you dear reader. Who is the REAL sell-out, in this situation?