Doug Pederson Might Join Eagles’ National Anthem Protest

The Eagles head coach supports his players.

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

Doug Pederson. (Jeff Fusco)

On Friday evening, Malcolm Jenkins revealed Eagles players are planning some sort of national anthem demonstration prior to Philadelphia’s Monday night game against the Chicago Bears. The goal, as Jenkins explained to SportsRadio 94WIP, is to “push forward the conversation about social injustice.” Jenkins said Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is “OK” with the plan. On Saturday, Pederson spoke out in support of his players.

“I respect players’ decisions,” explained Pederson. “It’s something that — everybody has their right to either protest or whatever they’re going to do. Malcolm and I have talked about this. It’s going to happen, regardless of what I decide or say. I respect the players’ decisions on it. The biggest thing is I don’t want it to become a distraction to the rest of the team. That’s the biggest thing from my standpoint.”

The demonstration will be sure to draw attention. Pederson doesn’t seem worried it will be a distraction, however.

“I really don’t think it’s been a distraction for teams,” he said. “I know early on, when Colin [Kaepernick] did his thing, it might have been [a distraction] initially because of the shock and awe of what happened. But I think now that everybody’s sort of embraced it and knows it’s going to happen, I think everybody is braced for it. So it won’t be a distraction.”

It remains to be seen exactly what Eagles players have in mind for their protest. When Jenkins spoke about it, the veteran safety said the matter was still undecided. He did add that it’s unlikely anyone will be kneeling during the anthem like Kaepernick has been doing, however.

One option Jenkins mentioned is the possibility of doing a demonstration as a team. The Seattle Seahawks have demonstrated in unity by locking their arms while standing together during the anthem. Pederson said he’s open to participating in such a demonstration if that’s what the players choose.

“If it was a team-wide [demonstration], if they want to do something team wide, I’d definitely be for that,” said Pederson. “I think it just shows unity and there’s no division that way. I think it sends a great message that from our standpoint, and the National Football league, and the platform, and as individuals, we love this country and what it represents and the flag and the national anthem and everything.”

“Listen, we’re not perfect, obviously. For us to stand sort of united that way, I’d be OK for that.”