Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins raised his fist during Thursday night's national anthem in protest over racial injustices in America, as he has in the past. Next to him stood veteran Chris Long, who wrapped his arm around his teammate in support.
"I just told Malcolm, 'I'm here for you,'" Long said after the game, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I think it's a good time for people that look like me to be here for people that are fighting for equality."
Long elaborated on the issue during a Friday appearance on The Rich Eisen Show.
"For me, I felt like I've always tried to do things off the field that promote equality but this week I thought maybe a symbolic gesture might be what was poignant for me personally," Long said. "And I approached Malcolm and said 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 and I'm here to support you."
Jenkins said Thursday night he valued Long's support.
"This is a moment in time where he feels the need to kind of take that step and lead, and I appreciate that," the safety said.
Long's comments came days after Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett -- who sat for the anthem last week -- said white players supporting anthem protests would change the tenor of the discussion.
Long went to high school in Charlottesville, Virginia, and attended the University of Virginia. He has been critical of white nationalists who gathered in Charlottesville to protest the removal of the General Robert E. Lee statue, and President Donald Trump's remarks following the incident.
"It's been a hard week for everybody," Long said. "I think it's not just a hard week for someone being from Charlottesville. It's a tough week for America. I've heard a lot of people say, 'You need white athletes to get involved in the anthem protest.' I've said before that I'll never kneel for an anthem because the flag means something different to everybody in this country, but I support my peers.
"And if you don't see why you need allies for people that are fighting for equality right now, I don't think you'll ever see it. My thing is Malcolm's a leader and I'm here to show support as a white athlete."