By Jack Ryan
Three of this year’s nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, given annually to a player for “outstanding community service activities off the field as well as excellence on the field,”are among the NFL players most prominently involved in the ongoing protests during the national anthem:
The Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins, the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett and the Dolphins’ Kenny Stills.
Jenkins had been raising his fist during pregame renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but, for the first time since early in the 2016 season, he did not do so last week. The veteran safety had said he would end his protests after the NFL agreed to donate approximately $90 million toward initiatives largely aimed at African American communities.
However, Jenkins said in a statement last week that the agreement “does not mandate an end to any player demonstrations,” and Bennett, who praised the league’s offer, took his customary seat on a bench Sunday during the anthem.