Chris Long, Malcolm Jenkins blast NFL’s new anthem policy
Chris Long and Malcolm Jenkins on Tuesday blasted the NFL’s new national anthem policy, with the former calling it “dumb.” Given the two Philadelphia Eagles stars are among the most outspoken players in the league, the fact the two weighed on on the controversial issue is hardly surprising.
NFL owners approved the new anthem policy last week that specifies all players must stand during the anthem. Players, though, will have the option to remain in the locker room during the pregame ceremony. Teams with players or personnel who do not abide by the rules will be subject to fines.
“I think it was a dumb move and I think it was clumsy,” Long said, via NJ.com. “I don’t think it was rooted in patriotism. I love this country, and love our vets. The guys protesting love this country and love their vets.
“But, you know, I think it was driven by fear of a diminished bottom line. The underlying factor is they’re afraid of the president.”
Added Jenkins: “It’s definitely discouraging because I thought we were moving to place where players wanted a platform and I thought we could create something that was more effective and bigger to which I think there’s been a ton of effort and time put into creating that.
“But this decision undermines that where I thought the league generally was building that. When you start trying to mandate things, it seems less like you’re helping and more like you’re just shutting us up.”
The respective comments from the two players comes on the heels of the Eagles formally accepting an invitation to visit the White House to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl LII victory. Both Long and Jenkins, longtime social activists, have confirmed they will not attend the ceremony.
The new anthem policy has reignited fierce debate over player protests. While one prominent NFL star and a new NFL head coach has no issue with it, one member of the media absolutely eviscerated owners over the decision. Expect the dialogue to continue throughout the offseason and well into the 2018 NFL campaign.