Philadelphia cops are throwing the flag on one of the city’s best-known athletes.
After Malcolm Jenkins, a three-time Pro Bowl safety for the Philadelphia Eagles, wrote a commentary piece for The Philadelphia Inquirer about the city’s search for a new police commissioner – and included a harsh attack on the police union – the Philadelphia Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police hit back hard.
FOP Lodge No. 5 President John McNesby came out swinging against Jenkins, and The Inquirer for giving him a voice.
And the issue’s not making for good feelings in the City of Brotherly Love.
In the commentary piece, published Monday, Jenkins singled out the police union as a major part of what he called “anger over the state of the Philadelphia police department.”
“Nearly every time we hear a story of an officer abusing power, whether through violence or racist Facebook postings, the police union is there to defend the bad behavior,” Jenkins wrote. “We need a commissioner who isn’t in lockstep with the union and who will instead push back when the union tries to hide and justify bad behavior. The commissioner must also support a union contract that allows for more officer accountability, even if that is an unpopular position with the rank and file.”
McNesby wasn’t having it.
“There’s no reason for him to be commenting on something that’s none of his business,” he told KYW-TV.
“He don’t ask us for help in tackling or any of his Eagles stuff,” McNesby said. “I mean, concentrate on your .500 team right now and winning and let the policing police themselves.”
The Eagles, expected by many to be a Super Bowl contender, are a disappointing 5-5 on the year.
In a letter Tuesday addressed to The Inquirer, McNesby insulted both Jenkins and The Inquirer’s decision to run the commentary.
“Sponsoring a racist attack by a non-resident washed up football player and trying to disguise it as a commentary on police in Philadelphia shows why the only people who still subscribe to your paper are those who use it to paper train their puppies,” McNesby wrote.
“Hurling slurs and false allegations against police officers offers nothing in the way of improvement. Like other has been football players, they now do most of their running with their mouths. …
“Only the Inquirer would offer Malcolm Jenkins to tackle crime, when he can’t even manage to tackle his own opponents.”
— FOPLodge5 (@FOPLodge5) November 19, 2019
Harsh stuff, even for those who would normally be predisposed to take the police side.
At 31, Jenkins is hardly “washed up” or a “has been.” He’s a major part of the Eagles defense and will always be remembered as a key player on the team that won Super Bowl LII against the heavily favored New England Patriots in 2018. (A White House visit never materialized, thanks in part to players like Jenkins.)
It also isn’t clear why McNesby called Jenkins a “non-resident.” According to PhillyVoice, Jenkins has lived in the city’s Northern Liberties section since at least 2016.
And even if Jenkins has been one of the NFL’s critics of President Donald Trump and a member of the activist Players Coalition Task Force, he never joined the anthem kneelers in disrespecting the American flag in pregame ceremonies. Jenkins has been known to raise his fist during “The Star-Spangled Banner” — a sign of discontent, maybe, but not outright disrespect.
But McNesby’s anger is understandable, too.
From Jenkins’ screed, an outsider might get the impression that Philadelphia cops are running roughshod over the city’s black population, a department rife with racists that demands shaking up from the top on down.
That would be hard to believe in any major city in the United States, but for a police department in a city as liberal as Philadelphia (scene of the Democratic National Convention that nominated Hillary Clinton in 2016) and where Democrats have held the mayor’s office since 1952, it’s impossible.
And while liberals are still griping about the tough-guy legacy of the former Police Commissioner and Mayor Frank Rizzo (a Democrat until the very end of his life), the most contemporary image of Philadelphia police and the “community” Jenkins is speaking for is likely to be the disgraceful treatment of officers by members of the “community” during a standoff in August that followed a shootout where six cops were wounded.
The city’s current power structure is controlled by liberals.
Mayor James Kenney is a Democratic partisan hack with designs on the Pennsylvania governor’s office. And this is a city that elected one of the most “progressive” of progressive prosecutors in the country when Larry Krasner, a career defense and civil rights attorney, won the job of district attorney in 2017. (Krasner’s first order of business was firing 31 prosecutors from his office, according to The Inquirer.)
Of course, Philadelphia’s police force isn’t perfect — no more than any other collection of human beings can be.
And there are racial tensions in Philadelphia, like there are everywhere in the country. As the headlines generated by a 2018 arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks showed, leftists thrive on racial tension in the city like they do everywhere else in the country. (It’s why rapper Meek Mill isn’t in prison right now — with the support of Eagles like Malcolm Jenkins.)
But criticizing the police department in 2019 in a city as liberal as Philadelphia as irredeemably institutionally racist defies both politics and common sense.
Jenkins might be one of the more rational of the NFL’s Social Justice Warriors, but that attack on the Philadelphia cops was definitely out of bounds.
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