The Philadelphia Eagles not only won the first Super Bowl title in franchise history, but they also put to rest the idiotic notion that you have to be singularly focused on football to become champions.
These Eagles, led by safety Malcolm Jenkins, receiver Torrey Smith and defensive end Chris Long, were at the forefront of the social justice movement across the NFL all season.
Never again can it be said that a player or team can’t be successful because of what outsiders perceive as a distraction.
Or as Long said earlier this week, “Distraction is code for ‘I don’t agree with what you’re talking about.’ ”
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Now champions after beating New England 41-33 in Super Bowl LII Sunday, the group plans to continue their fight.
All three have said they have no plans of visiting the White House if invited by President Donald Trump, who urged the league during the season to fire or suspend players who took a knee during the national anthem in order to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
Jenkins, who has raised his first during the national anthem for much of the past two years before stopping when the NFL earmarked $90 million to the player’s coalition for social justice reform, reiterated his position on CNN Monday morning.
“I personally do not anticipate attending (a victory event at the White House),” Jenkins said “My message has been clear all year. I’m about, you know, creating positive change in the communities that I come from, whether it be Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana or this entire country.
“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 between our communities and our law enforcement be advanced.”
The boycott is not new.
Several members of the Patriots refused to visit the White House in protest of Trump after their Super Bowl victory last season.
Long was with the Patriots then and now he is a champion again with the Eagles.
His position hasn’t changed.
“No, I’m not going to the White House,” he told the “Pardon My Take” podcast last week. “Are you kidding me?”
“(When) my son grows up, and I believe the legacy of our president is going to be what it is, I don’t want him to say, ‘Hey Dad, why’d you go (to the White House) when you knew the right thing was to not go?’ ” Long said.
Long donated his base salary of $1 million this season toward educational equality and scholarships. He put his arm around Jenkins when he raised his fist. He and Smith also spent countless hours during their free time along with Jenkins, meeting with police and government officials to further their cause.
They practiced. They protested. They lobbied. They fought for causes.
Now they are champions.
“A lot of people talked about stuff we have all done off the field,” Long said. “There are guys on teams that don’t win Super Bowls and do a lot of great stuff off the field. The reason we won is we have good people, unselfish people and really good players. What Malcolm (Jenkins) is alluding to is a lot of people do really great stuff here, everybody’s dependable and nobody panicked at any point in the year.”