Philadelphia Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins, center, would keep protesting during national anthem even if it meant his benching. (AP)
Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins said Monday he would defy a rule that would prohibit him from protesting during the national anthem, even if it meant he would not play.
Jenkins, who has raised a fist during the national anthem since Week 2 of last season, told NBC Sports Philadelphia if Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie enacted a rule similar to what Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he would do, it would not stop him from demonstrating.
"I would still do it," Jenkins said. "I mean, I've been that committed to it because that decision is not mine. I made the decision a year ago that I was going to use my platform in a way to create positive change both on the field and off the field and having someone tell me I couldn't do that simply because, you know, a president or your bottom line is getting ready to be affected, that wouldn't deter me."
Jones said Sunday after the Cowboys’ loss to the Green Bay Packers that any player that chose to “disrespect” the flag by kneeling during the national anthem would not play. He doubled-down on those comments Sunday in an interview with ESPN.
Jenkins reiterated to NBC Sports Philadelphia that the demonstrations during the national anthem were not about the flag and were “in no way disrespectful to our flag, country or service members.”
"I think we've made that very clear that what we are demonstrating about has nothing to do with the flag but everything to do with social injustice, racial inequality and the things that, you know, Jerry Jones and other owners who are making statements have yet to address," he said.
Jenkins said he would like for NFL owners to talk about the issues that players are protesting against – racial injustice, police brutality and the education gap – to move the conversation forward.
The Eagles veteran has been one of the most prominent leaders of the NFL protests since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract this past offseason.
Yahoo Sports reported last month Jenkins, teammate Torrey Smith, Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett and former NFL player Anquan Boldin co-authored a letter to the league office asking for money, political involvement and other commitments from the league. It also asked the NFL to recognize the month of November as activism awareness month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.