– Whitlock, are you worried Jenkins would be a distraction for the Eagles?
– A distraction for the Eagles? No. A distraction for himself in terms of the demands that are going to be placed on him because we have a media that loves to talk about everything other than football? Yes. So I think– Malcolm Jenkins went to the Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints previously and won a Super Bowl. This will be a totally different Super Bowl experience for him.
He will be the focus of a lot of attention. And a lot of his time talking and interacting with the media will be talking about everything other than football. For Malcolm Jenkins, that will be a distraction that he seems to be able to handle. At least, he was during the regular season. How that will play out Super Bowl week, I’m not so sure. But a distraction for the team, no, because everybody’s used to it. This is who Malcolm Jenkins is. An individual distraction? Yes.
– Yeah, I mean activism is interesting. You know, Seattle was a very active locker room, socially. It blew up. Oakland brought in Marshawn Lynch. That, reportedly locker room nosedive. Steelers had an activism issue in the middle of the season. Chicago, Cincinnati games did not play well. I think you can correct it with strong leadership.
So if you have a very socially active player, as long as you’ve got a Brady or a Rodgers or a Flac– like a veteran quarterback. A Big Ben, Mike Tomlin’s a veteran coach. Philadelphia is an interesting team. They have a backup quarterback and a coach who will be the second best coach in the game. I do think there’ll be a lot of political talk this week. And I would rather, if I was the Eagles, not have political talk.
I mean, I just think to me, I look at Philadelphia and I’m like, oh god, they’re doing just what Jacksonville did and just what Rise Up did and just what– New England is all football. That’s all they do. And it seems like all these teams come in and they chat and they talk and they– Jacksonville was, I mean, I don’t know. I look at this and I’m like, why go there this week?
– Look, I get where Malcolm Jennings want– what he wants to do. He wants to use this platform to talk about things other than football. But the reality is you’re at the Super Bowl. We’re gonna talk football. When you get up there on your media day, they’re going to ask you a couple of questions. Maybe to try to stir up something, to make you say something wrong for it to be a distraction. But at the end of the day, you’re going to be asked football questions whether you like it or not, because you’re here to play football. And I don’t think he’s going to garner the attention that he wants or he may be seeking for his activism. I’m all for it. Get down, do what you got to do. But this is the Super Bowl and it’s going to be more football than anything else.
– And more media.
– Yeah, I don’t think it will be a distraction. I don’t think it’s a distraction to him or his team. He’s done it all year. His off days he was going and meeting with Commissioner and league leaders. So it’s been something that’s been going on all year. And it hasn’t been a distraction. He is professional enough to understand that what I’m trying to get done this one thing.
What this team is trying to get done trumps all of that. And it doesn’t mean that he has to put what’s important to him to the side. But collectively, when I put on this uniform, when I have my name on the back of me and the Eagles, Philadelphia Eagles tattooed across my shirt and jersey, I represent the Philadelphia Eagles. So we have to understand that our brand and what we’re trying to get done, our laser focus is the game. But we all have different initiatives that we’re going to promote and what we’re after.
– You know, it’s funny. Super Bowl week is different though. It’s global media. And what you’re trying to do when you go to the Super Bowl as a reporter is be different. And so they’re going to latch on to one sentence and it’s not going to be hometown “Philadelphia Inquirer” guy who’s got your back. It’ll be interesting if he has a day, a media day, and he goes very socially active.
– The media will– that’s a fire, isn’t it?
– No one’s taking him on. He’s going to find a very supportive media, globally, at the Super Bowl. And he’s throwing up a flare. Come talk to me about issues other than football. And the media is going to love it and they’re going to go and celebrate it. And again, the question Malcolm Jenkins will have to ask himself, and maybe Chris Long as well, because he’s been very supportive, is the agenda when you go to a Super Bowl is like man, this is a once in a lifetime experience. Let me get this Super Bowl.
That should be the entire focus. How effective is your message Super Bowl week? Because they’re going to be thousands of stories put out there and you’ll be the guy talking about your social justice issue. I think it gets buried and drowned out by all the football talk. And so while he thinks this is just an amazing platform where I’m going to make people think about these issues, I think he’s going to be pissing into the wind, for lack of a better description, because everybody is going to be talking football and Tom Brady and football, football, football. And yes, there will be stories. But I just think they’re going to get lost.
– Well, I think he can give a little bit of an appetizer during the week. But if you win the Super Bowl and you can go out there and bring it home, I think your message could be clearer, or more people will be willing to listen to you after you become Super Bowl champion.
– Yeah. And this, again, he’s won one with New Orleans. But yes, if he can do that and now it becomes this amazing story where people are saying, see, he wasn’t distracted by being active and blah blah. And he can stand on that platform. And after the Super Bowl, I think people will listen.