Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long make a statement of unity during anthem

Darin Gantt
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

At a time when many around the nation are talking about a search for some sense of unity, a pair of football players gave us a picture of it Thursday night.

As the national anthem played before the Eagles-Bills game, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins raised his fist in a silent protest, as he has since last year.

The difference this time, was Eagles defensive end Chris Long stood next to him, with his arm around Jenkins’ shoulders.

Jenkins has stood with his fist raised as his way to draw attention to the unfair treatment of minorities by law enforcement. He has remained a passionate spokesman for his cause, and has taken it all the way to Washington to meet with government officials this offseason.

Long, who grew up in Charlottesville, Va. and attended college there, said he was sickened by the racial strife there and the lack of leadership in response, calling it an issue of “right or wrong.”

Seeing them together on the sidelines gave a visual to the words of Michael Bennett, who said the protests against discrimination won’t have as much traction until white players join in.

Long and Jenkins standing side-by-side won’t fix our country’s problems, any more than any tweet or speech will. But it does show an indelible image of the only way we’re going to be able to move forward as a society — together, and on the same side.

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