INDIANAPOLIS -- All players on both the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts appeared to stand for the national anthem Saturday prior to kickoff at Lucas Oil Stadium. At least on this night, no one decided to join in Colin Kaepernick's chosen form of protest.
It's not the type of action Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins would choose. He has friends who serve in the military; his grandfather served. And the eighth-year pro believes the message you are trying to send by that kind of gesture gets overshadowed by the gesture itself.
"If you want change and you want things to get better across the country, there's different ways to go about it. What's going to get lost is all the stuff that he was trying to point out," Jenkins said. "I think everybody is going to talk about how him making the money that he does as an NFL player and basically kind of shaming the flag or whatever, shaming the country, is unpatriotic. You talk about troops and being able to honor that, that's what's going to get talked about. It's not going to be about the lives that have been lost across the country, the injustices that are being done to minorities all across this country, that's what's not going to be in the headlines. It's going to be about him.
"It's a tough situation, but at the same time, if you've got something that you're passionate about and that's your way of expressing it, you've got all the right to do it. I'm a guy of conviction, I speak out on things I see, so I can't really look at what he's doing and tell him he's wrong."
Kaepernick told NFL Media that he refused to stand during the national anthem Friday before the preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers because of his views on the country's treatment of racial minorities.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said. "To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Jenkins says he understands where Kaepernick is coming from.
"We're all faced with opportunities. For myself, we stand there and we stand for the national anthem, and sometimes those thoughts go through your mind, like, 'Do I want to actually acknowledge this?' Because you might be upset about what's going on."
Jenkins said he prefers working in the community and "talking to the people who can make some change." As an example, Jenkins was among a small group of players who recently met with Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross Jr. to discuss ways they could help improve relations between local communities and the police. While his approach is different, Jenkins believes that "if you've got something on your heart and that's your way of expressing it, then to each his own."
"I think you've seen it not only with LeBron [James] and Carmelo [Anthony], you've seen it with a bunch of guys. Even last year when the Rams players came out the tunnel together with their hands up and things like that. I think guys are starting to understand the impact of the stage that we're standing on," Jenkins said. "I think guys are fed up with kind of playing the sideline and feel some kind of responsibility to at least voice their opinion of where they stand. A lot of guys try to stay out of the political limelight because you have things like endorsements, you have fans, and all these other things that you represent.
"But when it comes down to it, especially when you're talking about the relationship of African-Americans in this country right now. ... My entire family is black, and I can sit on my stage and act like these things don't apply to me, but my two younger brothers, my cousins, my dad, my mom -- all of them are dealing with those same things. ... I think guys in multiple sports across this country are starting to realize that if we do want to change, then this is probably something that we'll need to get involved in at some point."