Current New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, who played at Ohio State from 2006-08, will be taking the next step in a different type of career, joining CNN as a contributor, Jenkins announced Monday.
“Having spent years running non-profits and supporting grassroots organizations to address the inequalities of our criminal justice system, educational system and disparate wealth in our marginalized communities, I believe I can be a voice for other athlete activists and those who have dedicated their lives to changing legislation, policies and reforms for human equality,” Jenkins said in a statement. “As we move forward from these moments, journalists must not make the grave mistake of allowing the world to go back to sleep. The ground swell of energy that has been injected into all of us, must continue when the protests stop and that includes responsible reporting.
Jenkins is the first player in NFL history to join CNN while still active on a professional team. The statement said that he “will contribute to studio shows across CNN’s worldwide network as well as multiple platforms and special programming.”
This is not the first acknowledgement Jenkins has received for his off-field persona. He has been a vocal activist for racial equality, including calling out his teammate, quarterback Drew Brees, for being vocal against kneeling during the national anthem. Jenkins has also earned the NFLPA’s Byron “Whizzer” White Award for “going above and beyond to serve his community” in 2017, and co-founded the Players Coalition with former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
“Now more than ever, the public needs to be educated on the roles of elected positions of power, such as the District Attorney, Police Chief or City Council and how to hold those individuals accountable, especially through their voice and their vote,” Jenkins said. “In an important election year, I’m eager to join the CNN family and share my perspective as a regular contributor. I also want to thank CNN for their thoughtful leadership in viewing professional athletes beyond their sport as another educated voice who brings a varied perspective and value to the network’s programming and shows.”
Jenkins is entering his 12th season in the NFL and, as far as on-field success at the professional level, he has two Super Bowl wins and three Pro Bowls under his belt.
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