Former Patriots defensive end Chris Long explains support for anthem protest

"If you love something, improve it."

Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles holds his fist in the air while Chris Long puts his arm around him during the national anthem.
Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles holds his fist in the air while Chris Long puts his arm around him during the national anthem. –Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Chris Long has never been afraid to share his thoughts on issues he finds important. And the former Patriot recently expressed his views through a gesture during the national anthem in a recent preseason game.

Instead of kneeling, he placed his arm around Malcolm Jenkins, an African-American teammate who had his first raised in air. It was a silent show of support for Jenkins and a greater cause. He explained his mindset in an ESPN interview:

I’ve heard a lot of people say you need white athletes to get involved in the anthem protests. I’ve said before I’ll never kneel for an anthem, because the flag means something different for everybody in this country, but I support my peers. And if you don’t see why you need allies for people that are fighting for equality right now, I don’t think you’ll ever see it. So my thing is, Malcolm is a leader, and I’m here to show support as a white athlete.

And on Saturday night, Long offered this:

The 32-year-old defensive end is in his first season with the Philadelphia Eagles. He played the 2016 season in New England, helping the Patriots win Super Bowl LI.

Here’s Long speaking about his decision to support Jenkins on The Rich Eisen Show, noting that his hometown is Charlottesville, Virginia, the recent site of a “Unite the Right” rally where a woman was killed:

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