Malcolm Jenkins, American football safety for the New Orleans Saints, criticized President Trump on Tuesday. Jenkins argued that the president chooses to “ignore” the true meaning behind the protests.
During an interview with CNN, Jenkins said that Trump “understands” that athletes who choose to kneel. He claims that the president knows they do not intend to disrespect the flag during the national anthem.
“He understands the point [of the protest] at this point but he is choosing to ignore it,” Jenkins said after CNN’s Don Lemon suggested that Trump has still not understood that the reason why players kneel was to try to turn the gesture into a political issue, as reported by Newsweek.
“Taking a Knee”
Newsweek explained that the president has “incessantly depicted players taking a knee during the pre-game ritual as disrespectful to the flag and unpatriotic since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the anthem to protest against racial discrimination and police brutality in 2016.”
Jenkins’s remarks were in response to Trump’s tweet on early Tuesday. “Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!” the tweet read.
According to Jenkins, it is essential for athletes to use their platform to raise awareness on social injustices.
“I think anybody who’s looking to use sports, especially this year, as an outlet to kind of get away from what’s happening right now in our country is probably gonna be sadly mistaken especially as we move towards the fall,” he said.