New Orleans Saints Safety Malcolm Jenkins
Video Call With New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Malcolm, I was just wondering if you could fill us in on the project that I guess is out today on Peacock, Black Boys?
"So I started my production company, Listen Up Media about two years ago and this was actually the first project that I was able to come on as the executive producer. And I was really excited about the film because it really explores, kind of, the spectrum of the humanity of black boys and black men. Understanding that we're not monolithic and really being able to display kind of the fear, the joy, the pain, the love, the creativity that is oftentimes left out in a narrative when we talk about our black boys. We're oftentimes, we commodified the body, but completely ignore the minds of black men. And I think the film does a great job of really putting that on display, but also showing people how, especially in the education system as early as kindergarten, our kids are receiving messages about who they are and specifically black boys. And that humanity has been under attack since that, since starting at that early age, all the way through adulthood. So it is a project I am really excited to be a part of, and (I'm) looking forward to following it up with black girls and working with some women in the industry and maybe the Regina Kings' and people like that who really can tell that story about what black girls are going through."
I know we asked you a lot about how you called yourself a natural introvert before but I kind of want to ask you just about your comfort zone and being a public guy. I know you've talked in the past about even seeing a therapist a little bit when the pressure started to get to you, you lean on a lot of people in your life. I guess my two questions are, why did you feel the desire to push yourself so much and how has that comfort level grown as you've just taken on more and more?
"Well, I think that the comfort level of me, speaking on things and leading has always been there, but it's something that is quite frankly draining. And for me to be worth anything to anybody else to lead, I've recognized that I've had to take care of myself as well and really prioritize my own health and mental well being. And so part of that is talking to a therapist every week because it's not only the pressure of what's going on in society are leading these different things, but just our job as athletes being in the public light, being in a performance-based business where your performance is your livelihood. A lot of that causes pressure and these are the things that we usually don't talk about as men, as black men, as football players. But it's necessary because a lot of us deal with anxiety, a lot of us deal with depression and I'm no exception to that."
Obviously, a big matchup this weekend. What are your expectations? And what are you preparing for Sunday's game?
"I think the expectation is to see a lot of new stuff. They have actually added a lot of new people, a lot of new personnel on offense, especially. Early in the game, we are trying to figure out what are the concepts and things that they traditionally do, their bread and butter that we have seen on tape from last year and years before. But you also know there's going to be something that (Tom) Brady's going to bring and add to that often. So I think a lot of it is, going to have to take some adjustments throughout the game. But they obviously have a very, very talented roster. They have got guys that can make plays all over the field, so it's going to be interesting, interesting to see those matchups."
This season with the Inspire Change program, you are going to be able to wear names and phrases. Have you picked somebody out who you want to honor and then what does that mean to you that you are being able to shine yet another light on all of the in justices, well as many of the justices as you can?
"Yeah, I think for me and our team, we talked about some different people we can highlight throughout the season. I think week one will be Briana Taylor for me. But we want to continue to do that throughout the season and draw awareness. But I think the challenge for everybody, not just athletes or NFL guys, but for everybody is to move not only with the demonstrations and the awareness, I think we're in a place where we're very, very aware. It's how do we move to political engagement, and I think everybody is looking for what they can do. And there's no way to avoid the politics of the situation, the policy and the people who have the power to actually create the changes that we want, and those being our elected officials. So, I think as a player standpoint, it's great to raise awareness, but the next challenge is how do we ourselves, but also ownership and the league who has so much authority and so much power and leverage in these spaces, how do we get them to utilize that in a political manner to really change what's happening on the street from a policy level."
I have heard from a couple people that have credited you for having a positive influence on Patrick Robinson. Can you just speak a little on your relationship with him?
"Yes, P-Rod was drafted in the first round right after me. So we have been friends for a long while. I was one of the reasons he got to Philly. He had a great year that year, helped us win the Super Bowl (and) was a huge part of what we did in the secondary. I think P-Rob, like many other people, even like myself, I respond better and play better when I'm in a room with people that I trust and people that are dedicated and accountable to each other. You see guys bounce around the league a little bit and they're different players, depending on which locker room they're in. For me, and P-Rob believes we've been in some really good rooms together. Now, he's one of those veterans like me, so I just think it's always good to have a friend in the room."
From your perspective as a as a defender, is it impressive to see somebody at the age of 40 or plus playing the quarterback position? Just not only the physical, but the mental toll on that? And to follow that up, how impressive and how cool is it that we're going to see this Brees, Brady matchup on Sunday, just seeing quarterbacks still playing at a high level at that age?
"Yeah, I am 32 and can't imagine playing this game at 40 or 40 plus. So, for me, it is impressive and I think everybody still has a tremendous respect for both these quarterbacks and being still at the top of our league for as long as they have been. They'll both have a gold jacket at some point. It's always good to see the best matchup."
Along those same lines, I was wondering if you could just reflect on whether this game is special to you in any way in that you played with Brees in a Super Bowl, against Brady in a Super Bowl and have just encountered them in various times throughout your career. And now, of course, it's the first time in the NFL's 101-year long history that two over 40 QBs are starring in a game. What do you make of all that?
"Honestly, nothing. As a defender, my focus is on how I can make Brady's life miserable on Sunday. I think that the special thing about this game, for me at least, is that it's week one of our 2020 season. We've got a ton of opportunities. We feel like we have a great shot of doing something special this year and (this) is our first opportunity to really compete against another team and I think that's what makes it special. Anytime we get a chance to test yourselves, I think that's what the focus is."