New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins has built a reputation throughout his 11-year career as an activist for social justice and racial equality. Now CNN is bringing that expertise into the fold. The company has hired Jenkins to serve as a contributor on social justice issues.
"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 a statement. "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 has previously contributed op-eds to CNN, and he will have an expanded role in the future. He will appear on in-studio programs for the news outlet and will provide other content in this new role. The entire scope of his role is unknown, but Jenkins said on Twitter that he is looking forward to being heard.
In 2017, Jenkins partnered with former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin to form the Players Coalition. This group is an independent advocacy group that aims to highlight issues of racial and social equality. Additionally, the Players Coalition tries to make an impact on federal, state and local levels through "advocacy, awareness, education, and allocation of resources."
One of the key pillars of this group is building up trust between the police and the community by reducing police brutality. Police misconduct and transparency are two of the issues listed on the Players Coalition's website, which are top issues following George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis. Ongoing protests about systemic racism and police brutality are taking place around the country.
Originally a first-round pick during the 2009 NFL Draft, Jenkins spent the first five seasons of his career with the New Orleans Saints and won a Super Bowl. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles ahead of the 2014 season and spent six seasons with the NFC East team. He was part of the Super Bowl LII-winning roster and earned three Pro Bowl selections.
Jenkins rejoined the Saints following the 2019 season and signed a four-year, $32 million deal. Head coach Sean Payton previously said that letting Jenkins leave via free agency was an error. Bringing the veteran back into the fold provided the opportunity to rectify this mistake.