Malcolm Jenkins shifts focus from confronting Donald Trump to getting out the vote

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has made a lot of headlines from his social justice demonstrations to confronting President Donald Trump to an on-field confrontation with Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid over how to enact change.

Now Jenkins is focusing on ballot initiatives and getting out the vote ahead of November’s elections with the Players Coalition, a group at the center of Sunday’s conflict with Reid.

Players Coalition working across several states

The Players Coalition announced last week it was working on a set of ballot initiatives in Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Louisiana dealing with voting rights, gerrymandering, mass incarceration and social justice.

Amid criticism from Eric Reid, Malcolm Jenkins is promoting a specific set of ballot initiatives and working on voter registration. (Getty)
Amid criticism from Eric Reid, Malcolm Jenkins is promoting a specific set of ballot initiatives and working on voter registration. (Getty)

Jenkins and former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin, the Players Coalition co-founder, have been lobbying in recent weeks for those initiatives and working on voter registration drives.

“Each of these ballot initiatives are steps toward a more fair and just nation,” Jenkins said in a statement. “From reducing prison populations to redirecting savings toward drug-treatment services in Ohio, to ending gerrymandering in Michigan among other initiatives, voters across the country have the opportunity to enact real reforms.”

Eric Reid and Malcolm Jenkins had to be separated ahead of Sunday’s Panthers-Eagles game. (Getty)
Eric Reid and Malcolm Jenkins had to be separated ahead of Sunday’s Panthers-Eagles game. (Getty)

Jenkins, Players Coalition under fire

Reid, who was one of the first NFL players to kneel alongside Colin Kaepernick and was recently signed by the Panthers after he went unsigned in the offseason, lashed out at Jenkins over the Players Coalition on Sunday after an on-field confrontation, calling him cowardly for accepting almost $90 million in NFL funding for the Players Coalition after clashes over the direction of the group.

“We believe a lot of players should have stepped up for Colin,” Reid said. “I believe Malcolm capitalized on the situation, he co-opted the movement that was started by Colin, to get his organization funded. It’s cowardly. He sold us out.”

How Jenkins and Boldin are moving forward with their movement is through promoting ballot issues they believe will make a difference in African-American communities.

“If we don’t give the public a way to get involved other than point out the problems, we’re not having the greatest impact that we can,” Jenkins told USA Today. “The biggest impact we all have is our vote.”

What the Players Coalition is working on

These are the specific issues the Players Coalition is promoting.

Ohio Issue 1 intends to reduce prison populations through classifying drug use and possession crimes as misdemeanors and promoting rehabilitation and education for inmates.

Louisiana Amendement 2 would require a unanimous jury vote for a felony conviction. Currently 10 out of 12 jurors in agreement meets the state’s threshold for conviction.

Florida Amendment 4 intends to restore voting rights for felons who have served their time. This would restore voting rights to an estimated 1.5 million citizens.

Michigan Proposal 2 addresses gerrymandering and would shift the drawing of districts from state legislators to an independent commission.

Michigan Proposal 3 would change voting policies in the state to allow same-day voter registration, automatic registration and no-excuse absentee voting, which allows absentee voting for any citizen.

“It’s something that affects people from different walks of life,” Boldin told USA Today of Florida Amendment 2. “It’s not just a black issue, it’s not just a white issue.

“When people get out of prison and they’re returning citizens and they’re convicted felons, we want them to be productive citizens. But it’s almost like we don’t want to give them all the tools to integrate.”

Josh Norman backs efforts

While Reid has been critical of the Players Coalition, Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman praised the group’s efforts on Thursday, calling Reid’s criticism a “slap in the face.

“We don’t know what direction you’re trying to go in,” Norman said of Reid. “We’re all trying to go in the direction of helping people. That’s the main objective here. It’s not who gets this award … it’s not a grade here.”

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