Malcolm Jenkins' activism work at the grassroots level has afforded him a new, unique platform.
The New Orleans Saints safety on Monday announced he is joining CNN as a contributor.
"Having spent years running non-profits and supporting grassroots organizations to address the inequalities of our criminal justice system, educational system and disparate wealth in our marginalized communities, I believe I can be a voice for other athlete activists and those who have dedicated their lives to changing legislation, policies and reforms for human equality," Jenkins said in a statement. "As we move forward from these moments, journalists must not make the grave mistake of allowing the world to go back to sleep. The ground swell of energy that has been injected into all of us, must continue when the protests stop and that includes responsible reporting.
"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. 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 been an activist for racial and social equality for many years, co-founding the Players Coalition with former NFL receiver Anquan Boldin and earning the NFLPA's Byron "Whizzer" White Award for going above and beyond to serve his community in 2017 (the award has since been renamed the Alan Page Community Award). He will contribute to studio shows across CNN's worldwide network as well as multiple platforms and special programming, according to the announcement.
Jenkins becomes the first professional football player to join CNN while still active in the NFL. Earlier in June, Jenkins penned a powerful op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer explaining his role in the movement to end police brutality and systemic racism in the United States. He also participated in rallies in Philadelphia, speaking to thousands at one particular gathering.
Jenkins, an 11-year NFL veteran, returned to the Saints earlier this offseason after spending the last six seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.