Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins’ opinion piece about reforming the Philadelphia Police Department drew a sharp rebuke from the City of Brotherly Love’s police union on Tuesday.
Jenkins, who has been one of the NFL’s most outspoken voices on social injustice, wrote an essay published in the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for a half-dozen reforms under the next Philadelphia police commissioner.
The three-time Pro Bowler called for reforms in “how law enforcement police our children,” “a commissioner who fights back against the police union” and urged increased “accountability” and “transparency” under the next commissioner. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is set to replace former Commissioner Richard Ross, who resigned in August after being accused of mishandling sexual harassment claims filed by two female police officers in a lawsuit.
New England Patriots’ Rex Burkhead (34) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins (27) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
“Nearly every time we hear a story of an officer abusing power, whether through violence or racist Facebook postings, the police union is there to defend the bad behavior,” Jenkins wrote. “We need a commissioner who isn’t in lockstep with the union and who will instead push back when the union tries to hide and justify bad behavior.”
Jenkins’ op-ed drew rebuke from the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police. The union shared a letter on social media slamming Jenkins for his editorial and the Inquirer for running it.
“Sponsoring a racist attack by a non-resident washed-up football player and trying to disguise it as a commentary on police in Philadelphia shows why the only people who still subscribe to your paper are those who use it to paper train their puppies.
“Hurling slurs and false allegations against police offers nothing in the new way of improvement. Like other has-been football players, they now do most of their running with their mouth.
“This character’s ‘proposals’ would leave Philadelphia’s many crime victims as defenseless as his poor play has left his football team.
Kenney, however, expressed support for Jenkins. He told CBS Philadelphia he welcomes the suggestions.
“He has every right to give us some direction and make suggestions and we’ve been listening to the community the whole time,” Kenney said.
Kenney added that he will choose the new police commissioner soon.
Jenkins has been involved in social justice reform over the last few years. In 2017, Jenkins took a ride along with Philadelphia police to try and understand what others are going through.
Jenkins, 32, is in his sixth season with Philadelphia. Through 10 games, he has three pass deflections and 46 combined tackles. He’s made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons.