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Chris Long on speaking out and supporting fellow Americans: ‘It’s a bare minimum’

After placing his arm around Eagles teammate Malcolm Jenkins during the national anthem, Chris Long was a guest on The Rich Eisen Show where he shared what he thinks about those fans who believe athletes should “stick to sports” and talked about how he approached Jenkins to make the simple yet powerful gesture.

When it comes to the “stick to sports” crowd, Long said:

“We’ve placed a lot of pressure on athletes to be role models, and that includes sometimes tackling tough issues that might be uncomfortable and starting uncomfortable discussions. I’ll never tell a fan on Twitter to stick to whatever they do for a living. We can all talk about the tough issues that are at hand in our country right now, and athletes certainly don’t need to be put in a box.”

Then, the UVA alum, who tweeted how frustrating it was to see “man babies with tiki torches” in Charlottesville last weekend, made a point to add that he believes what he did in support of Jenkins wasn’t difficult for him at all. Long continued:

“I will say this: I don’t consider this a difficult thing to do. I don’t think it deserves praise. Supporting your peers, supporting your fellow Americans, I think it’s a bare minimum, and I’m here to do it. Mostly the reception has been very positive, so I don’t want to act like I’m really getting taken through the wringer.

“There are some people who say they don’t want politics in sports. I don’t remember a time when fighting white supremacy was a political issue, but evidently it is for a couple people in this country, and that’s unfortunate.”

Long also explained how he approached Jenkins and said “(he doesn’t) think you deserve a medal for making a simple gesture”:

“I approached Malcolm and I said, ‘I don’t want to steal your thunder. I don’t want to step on your toes, but I’m here to support you, and you being a black male in America, I can never imagine what that feels like in the face of this stuff, but I’m here as your ally. I’m here to support you.’

“Gosh, you’d think it’s a simple gesture. I don’t think you deserve a medal for making a simple gesture, but people have been positively touched by it, and I guess that’s where we are in this country. Just putting your arm around somebody, which is not something that takes that much effort, can make that much of a difference. I hope it inspires some people to get together on this thing.”

Long’s action came after the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett said on SportsCenter that “it would take a white player to really get things changed.”

“When somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak about it, it would change the whole conversation because you bring somebody who doesn’t really have to be part of the conversation to make themselves vulnerable in front of it,” Bennett said. “I think when that happens things will really take a big jump.”

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http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/08/chris-long-malcolm-jenkins-nfl-politics-anthem-protest-america-stick-to-sports-bare-minimum-interview/