Former NFL receiver Anquan Boldin announced that he was retiring in order to dedicate himself full-time to humanitarian work earlier this Summer. And Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins may still dedicate his life to the game, but he has declared that his mission this year will be the same as it was when he was raising his fist throughout the duration of the 2016 season. Both men say they are committed to confronting injustice, particularly in the criminal justice system, and they've done the work to prove that they are men of their word. On Wednesday, September 6, Jenkins and Boldin joined together to deliver a PSA through the MMQB podcast, in which they break down the purpose of their protests.
Both men say they are committed to confronting injustice, particularly in the criminal justice system, and they've done the work to prove that they are men of their word. On Wednesday, September 6, Jenkins and Boldin joined together to deliver a PSA through the MMQB podcast, in which they break down the purpose of their protests.
"We're playing against policies and practices that reinforce the cycle of poverty in the communities that need the most help," Boldin said. “This is about lifting up our communities and treating them with the dignity and support they deserve.”
To say that criminal justice reform is a cause dear to Boldin's heart, would be an understatement. While a great majority of those who've sat, knelt, and linked arms in order to bring police brutality to light, can attest to it first hand, Boldin actually lost a cousin to a plainclothes cop, who shot him on a Florida highway when his car broke down in 2015. He, along with Jenkins, has been to Capitol Hill twice [November and March], in order to speak with Congress about getting some legislation passed. Their focus, for the time being, is specific: abolish the bail bonds system that imprisons mainly poor black and brown people for their simple inability to pay their way out of jail, and pass the Clean Slate Act, which would ensure that offenders with nonviolent misdemeanors have their records sealed after having gone 10 years without committing a violating offense.
Boldin and Jenkins are in part responsible for starting up a Players Coalition of approximately 40 players across the league who remain connected in the interest of being unified on grassroots initiatives and calls for social action. Both men also happen to come from families mixed with an abundance of law enforcement officials. Jenkins says that this year he will again be raising his fist, and it may not get Colin Kaepernick back on the field, but just in drawing the media's attention, the demonstration has been doing its job.
"As long as we are keeping these conversations going long enough to redirect some of that attention to the work, to the actual call to action, it’s worth it,” he says.