Malcolm Jenkins is a Safety for the Philadelphia Eagles (yes, I had to look up to determine whether Safety is an Offensive or Defensive position) and he has done about as much for Social Justice reform in/out of Philadelphia and the average African American as any professional sports star. He fights for criminal justice reform and addresses racial inequality on a regular basis. He has been on a crusade since the summer of 2016 when the killing of several African=Americans by the police became a call to action for him.
Malcolm has been working with the Players Coalition, a group of NFL players seeking solutions to many problems that African-Americans face that seem unsurmountable. He raised his fist during the playing of the national anthem but has also met with the leaders of police departments, public defenders, bail officers and lawmakers. He and other members of the Players Coalition have visited prisons and courts to educate themselves about the problems and they have pushed for legislation to address those same problems. The Players Coalition has met with the top NFL executives repeatedly throughout the season and extracted an $89 million, seven (7) year commitment from the NFL for social causes and to help grass roots group fight inequality. Malcolm has been very instrumental in having the owners of the Browns, Cardinals, Dolphins, Falcons and Jaguars along with three (3) current players and two (2) retired players to form a committee to help choose the programs that will benefit from the $89 million.
Malcolm Jenkins is what I, as a Human Resources’ professional, consider to be a change manager. Who the hell cares whether Trump likes or supports the NFL or not? He just doesn’t realize that ‘taking a knee’ or ‘raising a fist’ does not mean you don’t love your country; what it means is that one wants change in one’s country…and America certainly needs change for the better and it is in a direction far opposite of the sitting President at this point in time.
Another Eagles’ player who should receive outstanding accolades is Chris Long…he is sometimes considered American football ‘royalty’…he donated all of his 2017 NFL paychecks to social causes and supporting his teammates, not just from an athletic perspective but from the side of inequality. Jenkins and Long have gone into the Philadelphia communities and hands on helped many individuals…they met with the police commissioner, public defenders, sat in on bail hearings and have sat with former prisoners about the challenges of getting back on their feet.
When I think of how I’ve turned my back on the NFL for so many years because of their ignoring domestic abuse, harassment and ignoring statistics on concussions (ignoring concussions!), it is reaffirming that the NFL did not turn its back on most of its players (Colin Kaepernick is an entire other issue), I applaud them. I don’t know that I will ever be any kind of American football fan, let alone an NFL fan, but it is good to see the organization looking in another direction.
Kudos also to the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jeffrey Lurie, who has a doctoral degree in social policy and has lectured on topics such as incarceration rates. In the lobby of the Eagles’ training facility, there are large photos of Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela and Jonas Salk…imagine that. He supports the players but reminds them that they have to establish and identify their goals so that they will not continually be ‘seen’ as unpatriotic.
…and then there is the ‘back up’ Quarterback, who is as humble as the day is long. How could he not be the MVP of this amazing ‘win’. He is an outstanding athlete as well as a sympathetic and understanding individual who did not take any credit for himself and passed it along to the remainder of his teammates.
Isn’t that ultimately what life is about? What you do for another human being and not what you do for yourself…yes, there are those who have a good deal of money and use it for themselves and the rest of humanity…and there are those that have a good deal of money and use it for themselves…the only thing that really matters in life is what one does for others…
I apologize for my ‘deviation’ from my promise but I feel that the work of the members of the SuperBowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles is part of the fight for the ‘under classed’ and the societal ‘underdog’. Again, thank you to the 2017-2018 Philadelphia Eagles’ franchise for their commitment to ‘team work’.
If you are interested in building ‘team work’ in your office, business or other organizational environment, please contact Rosanne Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 484-718-3427.