The Philadelphia Eagles took their fight for social justice to the bank and bailed nine people out of a jail over the Thanksgiving holiday.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the Eagles posted $50,000 in bail ― $25,000 raised by the players and $25,000 matched by the team’s Eagles Social Justice Fund ― so that nine defendants in Philadelphia could spend Thanksgiving out of jail.
The money went to the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, a local organization aimed at reforming the cash bailout system, which has been a major issue for Philadelphia city officials over the years.
After the Thanksgiving bailout, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and the Players Coalition, which he co-founded, hosted a services fair on Monday to connect the nine individuals with organizations that can help them get back on their feet.
“The cash bail system punishes poverty and … punishes people of color at a grossly disproportionate rate,” Jenkins said during a news conference on Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“Some people say we need the system to make our community safe — but as you can see here with these groups, we have everything we need to make our community safer, when we decide to invest in people and wrap our arms around people, as opposed to locking them up,” Jenkins said.
The Eagles posted bail one month after a brief confrontation between Jenkins and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid on Oct. 21 over NFL players’ protests against social and racial injustice, which former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick launched two years ago.
Reid, a close friend of Kaepernick, knelt during that game’s national anthem. Jenkins previousy raised his fist during the national anthem, but no longer does.
After the game, Reid called Jenkins a “sellout” and “neo-colonist.”
Earlier this year, the Players Coalition, led by Jenkins and former NFL star Anquan Boldin, reached an unprecedented agreement with the NFL to dedicate nearly $90 million to address social inequality.
The partnership was established in response to the protests Kaepernick started before he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017. No team signed Kaepernick during his free agency, prompting him to sue the NFL alleging a conspiracy to blacklist him from the league due to his activism.
This story has been updated to include more details about Kaepernick’s free agency.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said Jenkins and Reid had a confrontation on a game in November. That confrontation happened on Oct. 21. The story was also updated to show that the NFL raised $90 million to address social inequality and corrected to show that Jenkins previously raised his fist during the anthems.