Malcolm Jenkins, former New Orleans Saints safety and current Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl champion, told CNN on Monday morning that he intends to skip the team's visit to see President Trump and the White House.
It's customary for the Super Bowl champion players, coaches and staff to visit the sitting president at the White House.
"My message has been clear all year," Jenkins told CNN. "I'm about creating positive change in the communities that I come from, whether it be Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana ... I want to see changes in our criminal justice system. I want to see us push for (economic) and educational advancement in communities of color and low-income communities.
"And I want to see our relationships in between our communities and our law enforcement be advanced."
Jenkins has become most visible in the past two seasons.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Malcolm Jenkins was one kind of NFL player in New Orleans.
Jenkins raised his right fist during the national anthem for the past two seasons to raise awareness for criminal justice reform. He has actively sought solutions to the problem.
The veteran safety joined with Anquan Boldin to travel to Capitol Hill last year to push for criminal justice reform, and the pair then helped form the Players' Coalition, which reached an agreement with the NFL that prompted the league to begin donating to social-justice reform causes.
He is also holding a series of conversations with Upper Darby (Pa.) police superintendent Michael Chitwood to discuss some of the issues surrounding the movement.
"I’m in a position where I’m on a team that I can be vocal and use this platform," Jenkins said. "Players on other teams aren’t necessarily in the same position, so there is a sense of responsibility from me to kind of carry the torch."
Jenkins admits that it's not easy being one of the league's leading voices on social change, although he's been joined in Philadelphia this season by defensive end Chris Long, who donated his entire salary to educational causes.
He feels called to help, and he doesn't see his involvement ending anytime soon.
"It’s one of those things that, if you want to see your change, you have to talk about it. You have to stand out in front," Jenkins said. "It never gets comfortable; these conversations aren’t easy. I’m still not used to it. I just understand that what I wanted to accomplish was more important than that.”
Eagles defensive end Chris Long and wide receiver Torrey Smith had said they would not travel to Washington D.C.
Staff writer Joel A. Erickson contributed to this report.