Members of the Philadelphia Eagles are expected to join the protest movement started by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick when the national anthem is played before facing the Bears at Soldier Field on Monday night.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins told Sportsradio 94WIP in Philadelphia that he “definitely” expects his teammates to make a statement in some manner during the anthem in Chicago.
Kaepernick and other players have said they are protesting social inequalities. Jenkins said he will “most likely” be one of those players on Monday night.
“Everybody wants to be a part of it, and I feel like it’s no different on our team,” Jenkins told the radio station. “We got guys, especially myself, who feel very strongly about the topic.
The scene before the Rams-49ers game during the national anthem in Week 1. (AP)
“Last week, we talked about doing some stuff, but we wanted to make sure we didn’t do anything to take away from the folks, the families that suffered from 9-11. We didn’t want to mess with that day, so we left last week alone. But moving forward, I’m sure there will be guys that will probably join in.”
Before the season opener in Houston on Sept. 11, Bears coach John Fox said he strongly encourages his team to pay respect to the anthem.
“It’s not anything we can mandate, but we strongly recommend it,” Fox said of standing for the anthem.
Every Bears player stood for the national anthem in Houston before playing the Texans.
Jenkins said he talked to Eagles coach Doug Pederson last week about what the players were thinking.
“He was OK with it,” Jenkins said. “He understands that we have the right to express our feelings and use our voices in whatever way we want to. But he definitely wanted that open discussion.”
The actions of Kaepernick and those following him have sparked a national debate. That will continue if Eagles players protest the anthem at Soldier Field.
As it says on the stadium’s exterior, Soldier Field is “dedicated to the memory of the men and women in the armed services.”
“For me, it has nothing to do with this country or the flag or the anthem in itself,” Jenkins told the radio station. “Really, it’s just to continue to push for the conversation about social injustice. And that’s a range of things from police brutality to wages and job opportunities to education.
“It’s just a lot of things systematically that have been set up in this country, since its inception that really put minorities, especially African Americans, at a disadvantage, when you’re talking about quality of life and actually growing in this country.”