"I feel it is necessary to push forward with a relentless determination."
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins will continue to raise his fist in the air during the national anthem, just as he did all of last season with the exception of the season opener on September 11th.
Prior to last night's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Jenkins released a lengthy statement about his decision to continue raising his fist during the national anthem.
Per ESPN's Tim McManus, Jenkins said:
"Last season, I raised my fist as a sign of solidarity to support people, especially people of color, who were and are still unjustly losing their lives at the hands of officers with little to no consequence. After spending time with police officers on ride-alongs, meeting with politicians on the state and federal level and grass roots organizations fighting for human rights, it's clear that our criminal justice system is still crippling communities of color through mass incarceration."
"With the new call for a war on crime and drugs, the disproportionate oppression of poor communities and communities of color will continue unless legislative efforts and community engagement are made a priority. I've seen signs of life with regards to bipartisan support for criminal justice reform, but the support does not reflect the necessary urgency for real reform. This must be made a priority.
"As the blowback against those who stand up for what is right thickens, I feel it is necessary to push forward with a relentless determination. I want to send a message that we will not easily be moved or deterred from fighting for justice. There are many players across the league who have joined me in working toward new legislation and reestablishing trust and opportunities in our communities, and you can expect to see much more of that. I want to thank the fans across the country who have supported me in this effort to fight for equality and justice. I want to thank those that have dedicated their lives to this fight, as I know that it is not easy. And I want to challenge those who stay silent to be courageous and use your platforms to become part of the solution. God Bless."
Jenkins stood by his comments last night as he raised a fist in the air during the national anthem before Philly's preseason opener.
Some of his teammates joined him in his demonstration last season, including Steven Means, Marcus Smith and Ron Brooks, who protested alongside Jenkins for multiple games before an injury forced him out of action.
Colin Kaepernick, who spearheaded the movement last season by kneeling during the national anthem, is still a free agent.