NFL Player Joins CNN as Social Justice Contributor


New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins will join CNN as a contributor focusing on racial and social justice, the network announced Monday.

“I believe I can be a voice for other athlete activists and those who have dedicated their lives to changing legislation, policies and reforms for human equality,” Jenkins said.

He touted his experience addressing “the inequalities of our criminal justice system, educational system and disparate wealth in our marginalized communities” during his 11-year NFL career.

With protesters and rioters amassing in cities nationwide in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, Jenkins has actively engaged in recent discussions about police brutality and police funding on social and in mainstream media, as well as at rallies.

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“As we move forward from these moments, journalists must not make the grave mistake of allowing the world to go back to sleep,” the 32-year-old safety said. “The ground swell of energy that has been injected into all of us must continue when the protests stop, and that includes responsible reporting.”

He was among Drew Brees’ harshest critics when the Saints quarterback restated his long-held opposition to protesting during the national anthem.

Jenkins, who has protested by raising his fist during the anthem, initially told Brees to “shut the f— up,” but he deleted that social media post and replaced it with a less-hostile response.

Are you interested in hearing Malcolm Jenkins' views on CNN?

“The onslaught of the s— that we have to deal with is f—ing crazy right now,” Jenkins said. “Drew Brees, if you don’t understand how hurtful, how insensitive your comments are, you are part of the problem.”

He added, “Here we are now with the world on fire, and you still continue to, first, criticize how we peacefully protest because it doesn’t fit in what you do and your beliefs.”

WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive.

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Brees has since apologized for his comments, saying, “I am sorry, and I will do better, and I will be part of the solution, and I am your ally.”

The quarterback later wrote a letter in which he said, “Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been.”

In a tweet Monday, Jenkins said he was proud to join the “CNN family,” adding that he was “[l]ooking forward to being heard.”

Jenkins was drafted by New Orleans out of Ohio State in 2009 and won a Super Bowl with the Saints his rookie season.

He spent the past six seasons with Philadelphia, winning a second Super Bowl in the 2017 season, before returning to New Orleans as a free agent this offseason.

In 2017, Jenkins and retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin created the Players Coalition, a charity that advocates for racial and social equality.

The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, launched in 2010, focuses on improving educational and other opportunities for students with limited financial resources in New Orleans, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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