As the national anthem played over the speakers of Lincoln Financial Field in before the Cincinnati Bengals game in late September, Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson held a fist in the air, wanting to bring light to social injustices occurring across the country.
However, after a grand jury in Louisville, Ky. announced it would not indict several officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor during the serving of a warrant, Jackson lowered his fist and now will remain on the sideline, sitting on the bench while the anthem is played.
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Jackson told reporters Thursday he would continue to sit during the national anthem until a change is made in the Taylor case, and there is some form of justice rendered.
“The injustices that were brought to Breonna Taylor in saying that nobody was wrong and not charged her death really bothered me,” Jackson said. “I just couldn’t stand for the flag after hearing our Justice Department say that those cops did nothing wrong. Until I personally feel like she gets justice, that’s where I’m going to stay.”
On the field, Jackson has done a good job rushing the passer from the interior of the Eagles defensive line, collecting a sack, five quarterback hurries, and eight hits on the quarterback. He is also part of the defense that currently leads the NFL in sacks (17).
Jackson credits the defensive line rotation handled by defensive run game coordinator and defensive line coach Matt Burke with keeping the players fresh.
“The guys that we have here in Fletch (Fletcher Cox), (Javon) Hargrave, myself, and Hassan Ridgeway, we get that rotation going.” Jackson said. “Coach (Matt) Burke does a great job of allowing us to play and get our reps, keeping us even-keeled and telling us that everybody gets to eat. This isn’t a one-man show.”
Jackson and his defensive teammates are hoping to keep pressuring quarterbacks effectively, this time taking aim at Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Knowing that Roethlisberger has not been as mobile as he was in the past and had been throwing the ball to his receivers quickly, Jackson said the defensive line has to get to the Steelers quarterback quickly, making things uncomfortable for him by laying a big hit.
“Once you put a good hit on him, like a good Joe Burrow hit on him, think he’ll start dancing and look in other places,” Jackson said. “I think that will allow us to really get after him and make him real jittery.”
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Chris Franklin may be reached at [email protected].