Jenkins: Tavarres Has ‘Full Support’ From Teammates
While Myke Tavarres decided yesterday whether he would sit down during the national anthem before the Eagles’ preseason finale on Thursday, he spoke with Malcolm Jenkins.
Tavarres considered following Colin Kaepernick’s lead to protest the injustices he sees in the United States by not standing up, but Tavarres’ agent, Corey Williams, released a statement last night saying the linebacker would stand. Jenkins, who met with the Philadelphia Police Commissioner a month ago with several other NFL players to discuss ways to improve relations between communities and local authorities, told Tavarres he had his back and would support him no matter what.
“He’s a young player that sees what’s going on in America, who sees all of the issues and wants to do something. I think from that standpoint, I totally agree with what he wants to do. Now, how he chooses to convey that or get that message out there is completely up to him,” Jenkins said. “At the end of the day, the issues are the issues and if somebody else gets offended, then that’s fine because the things that they are standing for are just as egregious.”
Jenkins added that Tavarres has the “full support of everybody in the locker room,” noting how Tavarres realizes he has the biggest platform he’s ever had in his life and that the rookie “wants to do something with it.” Jenkins, who sometimes engages with people on Twitter to discuss racial inequality, is an advocate for athletes to use the platform they have.
“People hate when we do it, but at the end of the day, it is what it is. We have the stage and people want us to be role models and want us to be upstanding citizens so long as it doesn’t go against what they believe in,” Jenkins said. “The majority of the NFL is African-American, and so we are the role models of a lot of African-American communities. And if we — with the stage that we have and the success that we have — try to ignore the issues that affect the African-American community, then what message are we sending to those that are coming up behind us?
“A lot of times, people don’t like to hear about that and they love for us to just talk about the Eagles and talk about football, but we have a bigger responsibility to the kids in communities that look up to us [and] kids in communities that most of us have come from. We can’t forget about that. It’s a bit of a burden, but we’re blessed with this stage to not only benefit ourselves and our families, but to carry the way for everyone that’s behind us.”
Jenkins also discussed how critics bring up Tavarres’ status as an undrafted free agent, noting that “it’s easy to isolate and tear down a guy who nobody really knows about.” Some have wondered whether Kaepernick’s stand will affect his chances of making the 49ers’ roster, which Jenkins acknowledged is possible.
“If it does, it’s a shame, but I think he’s good enough — he’s not done in the NFL,” Jenkins said, before a reporter noted that Jenkins is familiar with one of the decision makers in Chip Kelly. “I don’t think that will have anything to — well, no, I wouldn’t say that. I think any time the NFL has been put in a bad light or the shield and what the shield stands for gets put in jeopardy, the shield has always taken precedence over players.
“It definitely puts him in a vulnerable situation, but I think he fully knows that, he understand the consequences and is willing to put that out there for the sake of the cause. Hopefully that’s not the case. Hopefully if he does get let go, it’s strictly off of performance and that only, but I’d be lying if I said I would think that would be the only thing.”