Rodney McLeod plans to demonstrate for social justice during the national anthem this upcoming 2020 NFL season. The Philadelphia Eagles safety recently revealed as much in an interview with ESPN’s Tim McManus.
Q: Have you made a decision yet whether you’re going to demonstrate pre-game for the 2020 season?
MCLEOD: I mean, I think I will. I have not decided on what that looks like. But I think I will in some capacity.
Q: Do you have the sense that the majority of your team is going to join you?
MCLEOD: I would believe so. I think it’s important for us to continue this and not let this pass us by. And so let’s take the right steps. And that means committing ourselves throughout the 2020 season and further until we get change.
McLeod previously demonstrated during the anthem by holding his fist in the air alongside Malcolm Jenkins, as pictured above this article. These demonstrations stopped when the NFL pledged $89 million to “projects dealing with criminal justice reform, law enforcement/community relations and education” in 2017.
But now players are expected to demonstrate again in the aftermath of George Floyd’s fatal arrest in order to call attention to America’s issues with racial inequality and police brutality. And the league seems to be OK with players doing as much given what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently said in a video statement.
“We the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”
Some, like Drew Brees, have wrongly conflated demonstrations as an effort to disrespect the United States flag. Jenkins was one of many to roast Brees for missing the true message of demonstrations. The New Orleans Saints quarterback has since apologized multiple times and reversed course on his original stance.
Keeping with the theme of race relations, McLeod also spoke to McManus about the internal team conversation the Eagles recently had. He specifically praised efforts made by Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz.
MCLEOD: One thing that resonated with me that I think Zach said was ‘It’s no longer an excuse to say that I am uninformed or I don’t know much about the social injustice that lies, you know, saying for a lot of you guys on the team.’ And he said ‘I now have made it a priority of mine and I’m committed to fighting and standing next to you. And to take action and now just temporarily but for in entirety.’ And the same thing, a similar message was given by Carson. And so I respect those guys for taking the time to want to learn but then to also listen. And then on top of that, now take action regardless of the backlash that they might get from people in the world. It’s bigger than that. So they understand and they were sympathetic to the moment.
It’s to be determined if guys like Wentz and Ertz will be among those potentially joining McLeod in demonstration this season.