12 Apr NFL players lobbying for changes to the criminal justice system
A Philadelphia Eagle is devoting his free time to trying to convince politicians to make some positive changes to the nation’s criminal justice system.
Malcolm Jenkins told the New Jersey Herald that while football is hard, his political efforts are even harder.
“Jenkins, free-agent wide receiver Anquan Boldin and other players were meeting with members of Congress this week to push for legislation that leads to improved relationships between minority communities and local police,” an article in the New Jersey Herald reads.
On the heels of President Donald Trump being sworn in as president, Jenkins and Boldin along with other players are seeking to ease racial tensions and do away with mandatory prison sentences for non-violent offenders.
“Overcoming hot-button terms like “stop and frisk” and getting Republicans and Democrats to find common ground is a tall order, but one the players said they intend to tackle,” the newspaper reports. “This is the second trip to Washington in the last five months for Jenkins and Boldin.”
Jenkins said the reason his lobbying efforts are difficult is because it requires him to do a lot of research on the topic. He must be prepared. And to speak on behalf of other people can be difficult because he wants to be sure and bring the right voice to the table.
One of the top issues the NFL players are focused on is putting an end to private prisons and doing away with mandatory minimum prison sentences since it puts non-violent offenders behind bars for lengthy amounts of time. The players said they feel as if there’s too much focus on “law-and-order solutions and not enough on preventing crimes before they happen.”
Boldin made the comment that private prisons are a huge issue because the companies that operate them are often under contract to keep the prison at capacity, which can lead to an emphasis on incarcerating people. Basically, police are then required to keep quotas in regards to the number of people they arrest.
“Both Boldin and Jenkins said relationships between minorities and police remain fractured despite the protests and demands for reforms since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014,” the article reads.
Jenkins and Boldin were scheduled to speak last Thursday at a congressional forum on building trust between communities and police. Joining them were Lions cornerback Johnson Bademosi and Donte Stallworth, a former NFL receiver.