Eagles Standout DT Challenges NFL Owners: ‘Don’t Hide Behind the Shield’

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Getty Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins raises a fist during the national anthem earlier this season.

Malik Jackson wants to see “positive change” in the NFL. That starts at the highest level, in the front office.

The Eagles standout defensive tackle was in a talkative mood on Wednesday and he wasn’t talking Xs and Os. Jackson knows the challenge the Rams present this week, but coming off a solid performance in Week 1 — two quarterback hits on 55 defensive snaps — he flipped the script. It wasn’t the first time.

He appeared on a Zoom call wearing a red Donald Trump hat reconfigured to read “Make America Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” and pleaded for NFL owners to hire more minority candidates.

“As a black person, I would like to see more guys hired that looked like me,” Jackson told reporters. “I think we have a league that 70-percent of the people who play look like me, that it would be nice for the upstairs to look like that. I just think something should be done.”

Jackson’s remarks were powerful as he praised Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie for taking tangible action. He and head coach Doug Pederson were instrumental in setting up Philly’s Social Justice Committee, a forum where everyone can openly discuss “uncomfortable” issues on race and inequality. While the NFL has the “Rooney Rule” in place to encourage the hiring of minority coaches, there is no such mandate to help diversify front offices around the league.

“I respect what the NFL is doing first of all,” Jackson said. “Personally, I feel like it’s nice what they’re doing, like I said, but until every individual owner starts doing something and not hide behind the shield, I personally feel like it’s not going to mean anything. And I know Mr. Lurie is doing a good job of working with us and getting with this community so if we can get the other owners to be like Mr. Lurie than I think it will be a stronger message than just saying holding hands around the NFL logo while someone sings a song. To me, that just doesn’t do anything.”

When told the Eagles don’t have any black executives in their front office, Jackson laughed and replied: “I’m going to go.” (To be fair, Philly did employ Andrew Berry last year but he left to take over as GM in Cleveland).

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Washington Football Team Denied Eagles’ Request

Jackson revealed a telling nugget from a conversation between Eagles players and members of the Washington Football Team about how they might express themselves during the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

The Eagles wanted Washington to take a knee for kickoff and then decline the penalty, but they wouldn’t agree to do it. It was the same gesture that Premier League soccer players did in June.

“Unfortunately, we could not get the Washington Football Team on-board,” Jackson said. “We wanted to do what they did in the Premier League where they take a knee.”

The Seahawks and Falcons got on the same page and replicated it in Week 1. Washington wasn’t interested. Maybe it was a Dan Snyder thing. Instead, the two teams locked their arms in the middle of the field before exiting prior to kickoff.

But Jackson didn’t think holding arms did enough to say how the players felt and looks forward to a more meaningful demonstration in the coming weeks. Spoiler alert, he doesn’t want to do it during the national anthem.

Jackson added: “I just really hope that we could do something that people could truly say how they feel, not during the anthem because I personally feel we should stand for that, but another time.”

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