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Jenkins: Football is "nonessential"

Saints Safety Says You Cannot Compare NBA & NFL
Saints' Jenkins joins CNN as social justice contributor
Posted at 10:00 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 23:00:08-04

Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said football is not an essential business during an interview with CNN Thursday drawing attention from the sporting world.

Jenkins, who signed with New Orleans for a second stint back in the spring, stressed that keeping football players safe will be more difficult than other sports because of the sheer volume of people.

"The NBA is a lot different than the NFL because they can quarantine all their players," he said. "We have over 2,00 players, more coaches and staff and we can't do that. We're on a trust system or honor system where we have to hope guys are social distancing and such and that puts us at risk, not only as player and people in the building, but when you go home to your families."

Jenkins took to social media later Thursday night to clarify that his comments were not about not wanting to play football.

"To be clear, I want to play football," he said in a video posted to Twitter. "I think all my peers want to play football. It’s how we make a living."

"But there’s so much that we don’t know right now and what we look at, what’s happening in the country, cases are going up, deaths are going up. We look at what’s happening in college football. Over 41 schools have outbreaks of COVID in their locker rooms after they tried to come back for voluntary workouts. LSU’s got 30 guys that are now in quarantine. We’re watching other sports that will start up before football to see how they’re doing it, what their protocols are and if they’ll work."

"There’s so much that we don’t know at this point. But I know that the bar for the NFL is going to be high when it comes to creating a safe work environment and making it as safe as possible for guys to come back and we keep in mind that it’s not just about the athletes and their health or the coaches and staff, but our families, too."

Jenkins interview with CNN was actually built around discussions of race in America. Jenkins has been a vocal leader for change in the NFL and supported Colin Kaepernick's social injustice protests.

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