Eagles' defensive end Chris Long went to the University of Virginia before becoming an NFL pass-rusher and eventual Super Bowl champion with the Patriots. Now as he starts a stint in Philadelphia he's joined safety Malcolm Jenkins and wide receiver Torrey Smith as an outspoken political voice in the locker room.
After the events of this past weekend saw a tragedy with political teeth go down back at his alma mater, Long tweeted his frustration with President Donald Trump in the aftermath:
This would be a moral layup yet you go with "on many sides." Unreal. https://t.co/Cb5XjFmrdH— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 13, 2017
Wow... to think that failure to condemn white supremacy is a form of political self preservation in America right now.... tough day.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 13, 2017
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As a pro athlete with 271,000 followers, there was a backlash toward Long similar to what followed Colin Kaepernick after the now free agent quarterback decided to take a knee last season during the national anthem for political reasons. As Long is never shy to do, he spoke out after practice in training camp Sunday.
"Listen, some people are tired of hearing me tweet because they want me to 'stick to football,' but I like to use social media like I was a regular guy, because I think I am," Long said. "I don't tell people to stick to whateher their job is when they want to talk politics. And this isn't political. That's the thing — everybody wants to turn this political. This isn't a political issue. This is right and wrong. For me, being from Charlottesville, nobody wants you to sit idly by and not say anything. And I wish there was more categorical denials from some very important people in this country who have had the opportunity to strike it down and didn't."
Jenkins is also not stepping down, tweeting similarly to Trump urging him to use his "fire and fury" sentiment he held for North Korea against terrorists as he promised he would.
Jenkins held his fist in the air in protest during the National Anthem. prior to the Eagles' first preseason game Thursday and says he plans to continue to stage the subtle protest, saying "after spending time with police officers on ride-alongs, meeting with politicians on the state and federal level and grass roots organizations fighting for human rights, it’s clear that our criminal justice system is still crippling communities of color through mass incarceration.”
The Eagles defensive leader also called out the NFL for being "cowards" and not signing Kaepernick — who was the first to protect during the National Anthem.