Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins fails to grasp the meaning of bowing your head and raising a fist. After 26 weeks of silently protesting during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to call attention to police brutality against African-Americans, Jenkins stopped doing so this past Sunday.
He wants the bag of money NFL owners are dangling before him. The Players Coalition, which the Eagles star cofounded with former NFL wideout Anquan Boldin, signed off on a deal in which the league would donate $89 million over seven years to various charities that specialize in social justice and racial equality.
Of course, there is quid pro quo. Players must follow Jenkins' lead and stop kneeling, raising their fists, or doing anything that draws attention to black oppression before kickoff.
When sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during the medal ceremony of their 200-meter race at the 1968 Summer Olympics, they aimed to empower their brothers and sisters. Smith and Carlos risked it all so that future generations of African-Americans could have a fair shot at achieving the American dream.
A few of Jenkins' peers were disgusted by his decision to sell out. San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid, San Diego Chargers tackle Russell Okung, and Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas quit the coalition and continue to protest during the National Anthem. They are among the few league stars who understand the slogan "Say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud."
Unfortunately, Jenkins represents many African-American professional athletes who fail to comprehend empowerment. Black people don't want the NFL's handouts. We want league owners and players to tackle systemic racism by providing African-Americans a level playing field. We shouldn't have to worry about getting shot for a busted taillight or providing the best possible life for our children.
If Jenkins and other players are serious about taking a stand, they should hire black agents who have broken down their professions' racial barriers. (Adisa Bakari, Charles Parker, Jeff Whitney, and my wife, Kristin Campbell, are some examples.)
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Black players are respected when they are represented by independent black sports agents. They should also hire black attorneys and financial planners instead of friends and associates of their agents. There are black financial planners who give advice to white billionaires. Jenkins and other black players are afraid to take on the NFL plantation owners.
In a recent interview, Jenkins mentioned he owns a franchise of Papa John's, a company founded by John Schnatter, who recently blamed the NFL protests for lackluster pizza sales and who is business partners with Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner who promised to bench any player who protests. Why isn't Jenkins putting his money in franchises that cater to black clientele, like Popeyes?
NFL owners don't respect black players. Whenever there is an agitator, they find a house Negro like Jenkins and give him some money to shut down the protesters. Until black NFL players start practicing what they preach, they will have no place in the black-empowerment movement.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.