During his sixth annual Next Level Youth Football camp at Piscataway High School, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins decided to touch upon the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick‘s free agent status. Jenkins stated that Kaepernick’s inability to sign with any team is due to his controversial political stances, rather than his lack of skill.
Malcolm Jenkins Believes NFL Blacklisted Colin Kaepernick
“It would be hard for me to have a conversation with anybody who didn’t think his political stance doesn’t have almost anything to do with why he doesn’t have a job,” Jenkins explained. “You’ve literally had owners and coaches come out and talk about his political stance being the reason they can’t sign him. So that myth or debate is kind of over.”
It’s worth noting that Jenkins has also protested during a national anthem for a similar reasoning by raising his fist.
“It’s crazy to me because you still have athletes like myself and about 25 others who’ve also been vocal about the same topics, who also protested to keep that going. So that’s the one positive thing out of that. Regardless of how it plays out with Kaepernick that message and idea don’t fade.”
Jenkins also praised youth football players for making similar protests despite the risk of facing a huge backlash.
“It was inspiring to hear their story. The kids made a decision that they would rather not play than to not be given their right to protest. And I thought that was commendable. They also expressed their plans to start their own leagues and we wanted to make sure that we tried to support them. I think it’s important that we teach these kids specifically that it is OK to stand up for what you believe in. It’s OK to speak up. And it’s important for us to support that. Especially when most of them are following our lead and following what they see and encouraged by what we do.”
Although it’s debatable on whether Colin Kaepernick’s free agent status is due to lack of skill or not, many have argued that signing Kaepernick would ultimately lead to a fan backlash. Last May, it was reported by Giants co-owner John Mara that several fans threatened to boycott the Giants if Kaepernick was signed.
Kaepernick has been a largely controversial figure in professional sports ever since he took a knee during the national anthem in late 2016.