On Friday evening, Malcolm Jenkins told SportsRadio 94WIP that he and his teammates are planning a demonstration during the National Anthem on Monday night before the team's game in Chicago. The safety didn't explain what it would entail, but on Saturday, head coach Doug Pederson showed his support for the decision to take a stand.
"It's something that they, everybody has their right to protest or whatever they're going to do," Pederson said. "Malcolm and I have talked about this and it's going to happen regardless of what I decide or say and I respect the players' decisions on it. The biggest thing is I just don't want it to become a distraction to the rest of the team and that's the biggest thing from my standpoint."
Jenkins spoke with Pederson before making the announcement, something the head coach appreciated.
"Malcolm, he's a class act all the way," Pederson said. "He does a lot of things in the community here and he speaks out on a lot of things and he's a great teammate and a great leader of this football team. I just appreciate him coming to me first and just letting me know. That's always been my policy on things is open door and when guys have things like this that come up, I appreciate them coming to me."
During their conversation, Jenkins didn't reveal the pregame gesture to the coach. However, Pederson has the utmost confident the veteran and his teammates will do it the right way.
Last week, the Seattle Seahawks stood together, arm-in-arm, during the anthem as opposed to sitting or kneeling as other players have chosen to do. It showed their unity but also stood as a call for change. A showing such as that is something Pederson would support.
"We love this country and what it represents and the flag and the National Anthem and everything," Pederson said. "Listen, we're not perfect, obviously, and for us to stand and sort of unite it that way, I'd be OK for that."