Why Chris Long Put Arm Around Malcolm Jenkins During National Anthem Protest

Chris Long supports Malcolm Jenkins during anthem protest

"Malcolm is a leader and I'm here to show support as a white athlete".

Long considers Charlottesville, Va., his hometown - he also went to the University of Virginia - and he was critical of the white nationalists who gathered to protest the removal of the General Robert E. Lee statue.

"I think it's a good time for people that look like me to be here for people that are fighting for equality", Long said after the game. It's important for us to show that unity and the support. Brooks did not dress for the game because of a hamstring injury.

Jenkins has been raising his fist since the start of last season.

"I asked a couple questions, mainly what message was he trying to get across", Jenkins said.

"I think it is important to show, especially for a white male to show, that although these problems don't necessarily affect you, you can still see the significance in it, you can still be in support of your brothers that are going through it", Jenkins said.

Jenkins raised his fist during the national anthem a year ago as well, following in the footsteps of Colin Kaepernick, who sat or knelt during the anthem throughout the 2016 season to protest police brutality and social injustice. He has already said he intends on continuing to do so throughout the upcoming season. Other NFL players, such as the Seahawks' Michael Bennett have also sat for the anthem.

In a statement released last week, Jenkins said that he plans to raise his fist during anthems this season to protest the mass incarceration of people of color.

The decision to join his teammate was made by Long prior the game, saying afterwards that "I just told Malcolm, 'I'm here for you'". "It was a tough week for America, not just Charlottesville".

"Yeah I can see that happening", said linebacker Mychal Kendricks. But he's been politically active on Twitter for a long time, especially so this week after the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, and what he's described as an inadequate response from President Trump. Those are just kind of the results of the existence of hate, racism and prejudices that have long plagued America. "I believe you're on one side or the other".

"First Take" co-host Max Kellerman added his voice to the debate about social-justice activism in the NFL on Thursday, calling it a "disgrace" and "embarrassing" that no white NFL players had supported their black teammates in their national anthem protests. He has not been signed by another team since opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers months ago, however. He explained this week that, in his mind, athletes need to continue showing their support for Kaepernick, and for his message. "Because you bring somebody who doesn't really have to be a part of the conversation, making himself vulnerable in front of it, I think when that happens, things will really take a big jump". "It's all of our thing to get involved in".

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