When Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman released a story yesterday about how all 21 of the white NFL players he polled support Donald Trump, many were dubious of the figure. But according to Malcolm Jenkins, that number is probably an accurate reflection of the breakdown in the Eagles’ locker room.
“I would say if it’s not 100, it’s probably 90 percent in this locker room,” Jenkins said.
The story also reported that 20 of the 22 black players polled support Clinton, while the other two plan to vote for Trump. In general, the Pro Bowl safety thought the piece’s detailing of a political divide in NFL locker rooms is true.
“It’s pretty accurate,” Jenkins said. “Donald Trump is a divisive name in a locker room. A lot of guys will talk politics, but usually not about Trump. Those might get a little heated depending on who you’re talking to. … There’s some hardcore Trump fans in this locker room… which is fine.”
Jenkins has been outspoken before about racial injustices he sees in the United States, and he’s engaged Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross in an ongoing conversation for weeks about how professional athletes can help bridge the divide between police and communities. Jenkins has also raised his right fist before the Eagles’ last two games during the national anthem to bring awareness to racial inequality.
When it comes to Trump, Jenkins thinks so many of his white teammates are voting for the Republican presidential nominee for financial reasons.
“Usually, in this locker room, everybody’s in the top tax bracket. The Republican Party is usually nice on the pockets. That’s probably the No. 1 reason,” Jenkins said. “But personally, the rest of my family is not in this tax bracket, so I usually tend to vote for the majority of who my loved ones are.”
Both Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have unusually high unfavorable ratings among voters, but Trump has received a lot of criticism for his remarks regarding race and sex.
“At the end of the day, empathy is something America lacks right now. That ability to understand what [somebody else’s] experience is and what [somebody else’s] life is really hard. A lot of times what happens is you go off of what you grew up knowing,” Jenkins said.
“Not that anything’s wrong with it; you support whoever you want. But if I were to bring up the reasons that I didn’t like Trump — he says borderline racist things and says crazy things about women — the argument is probably going to be some way to justify it as opposed to understanding the impact that has on a person of color.”