Sport

Jenkins to join Eagles teammates skipping White House visit

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

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Minneapolis , United States (AFP) — Philadelphia Eagles star safety Malcolm Jenkins said yesterday he plans to boycott the traditional White House visit along with at least two other members of the Super Bowl-winning team.

“No, I personally do not anticipate attending that,” Jenkins, who has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, told CNN.

“My message has been clear all year,” the defensive standout said after the Eagles' 41-33 upset victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

“I want to see changes in our criminal justice system,” Jenkins said. “I want to see us push for economical and educational advancement in communities of colour and low-income communities.

“And I want to see our relationships between our communities and our law enforcement be advanced,” Jenkins said. “That's what myself and my peers have been pushing for for the last two years and that's what I'll continue to do.”

At least two of Jenkins' teammates — defensive end Chris Long and wide receiver Torrey Smith — have also said they do not plan to go to the White House.

Long won a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots last year and also declined to make the trip.

Long, 32, made headlines this year by giving away his entire pay cheque to worthy causes and has been a vocal supporter of team-mates who have protested against social injustice this season.

Trump has been engaged in a feud with the National Football League all year over players kneeling in protest during the national anthem.

The mainly African American players have been taking a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

Trump indirectly warned players before Sunday's game not to kneel.

In a statement, he expressed appreciation “for those who make occasions like this possible, particularly the brave men and women of our armed forces.

“We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the national anthem,” Trump said.

No players kneeled while pop star Pink sang the national anthem ahead of the game in Minneapolis.

Trump congratulated the Eagles following the game.

“Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on a great Super Bowl victory!” Trump tweeted.

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