In 2010, current New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins launched charitable foundation that focused on helping youth in underserved communities and also became involved in tackling the issue of gun violence in the city of New Orleans.
Six years later, after Colin Kaepernick started kneeling to raise awareness for social injustice, Jenkins realized he had to do more. "All of a sudden, I found myself in a place where I was prepared to step up. I was just like, 'OK, enough is enough.'
Like, 'I don't want to just tweet. I don't want to wear a T-shirt,'" Jenkins said, per ESPN. "And that was a lifetime of, you know, people planting seeds and people pruning me. "And then I found myself ready to be a leader, not only on the field, not only for myself, but for the community.
And I credit that to everybody who has been a part of my upbringing."
Jenkins focused on his mental health as well
After Jenkins became one of the leading activists in the NFL, he started visiting a therapist because he describes himself as an introvert and all the stuff he was doing was draining him.
"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," Jenkins explained. "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 or 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." Michael Thomas, considered as one of the best receivers in the NFL, has nothing but good to say of his fellow Saints teammate Jenkins. "He's very professional. I'll call him, like, a suit-and-tie guy," Thomas said of Jenkins.
"He takes care of his business. You can see it when he walks in the building, and then just how he's able to play the game at a high level and still bring change to the world that's needed. His voice is real powerful."