Strong safety Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles holds his fist in the air during the national anthem before the start of the game between the Eagles and Washington, D.C.’s NFL team at FedExField on Sept. 10, 2017. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The vice president of the United States wasted taxpayer dollars Sunday so he could stage his own mini protest against NFL players who exercised their constitutional right to peaceful protest by kneeling during the national anthem, and according to the current president, the vice president acted at his request.

NFL owners and coaches are doing the bidding of their leaders by threatening sanctions against any players who protest during the anthem, but even with this, there are still players who are brave and bold enough to continue to make a stand against racial injustice no matter what.

In response to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones saying that players who “disrespect” the flag “will not play,” Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who has been demonstrating by raising his fist in the air during the anthem, told NBC Sports on Monday that even if Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie took that stance, he would still protest.

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Jenkins told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Derrick Gunn, “Well, my first reaction is that I’m grateful that Jeffrey Lurie not only did not express those kinds of feelings but has proactively been in the community and has reached out to try and hear about the issues that we are actually demonstrating to draw attention to.

“If [Lurie] were to put out such a statement I’d continue my demonstration because my demonstration is in no way disrespectful to our flag, our country or our service members. Neither is anybody in the league who is kneeling,” Jenkins continued. “I think we’ve made that very clear that what we are demonstrating about has nothing to do with the flag but everything to do with social injustice, racial inequality and the things that, you know, Jerry Jones and other owners who are making statements have yet to address.”

Indeed, the true meaning of the protests has been repeatedly hijacked by attempts to make it about the flag, the national anthem itself and even a protest against Donald Trump himself. Many have tried to steer the discussion back in the right direction by reiterating the true purpose of the demonstrations.

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Framing the demonstrations as an attack against the flag and those who have fought for it makes it easy to raise the ire of members of a certain base, who lack the ability to make the distinction between truth and hyperbole.

With a few exceptions, not many coaches or owners have been able to address the real issue, as Jenkins said. That in and of itself is a problem. How do you profit from the physical labor of a group of people but fail to acknowledge or address their true concerns?

“And so, I’d love to hear their takes on that part of the conversation, what these players are trying to draw attention to. Their thoughts on, you know, police brutality and racial inequality, education gap, the economical gap in these communities that they make money in,” Jenkins said. “And I’d love to hear that part of the conversation so that it’s not so argumentative, so that it’s not isolating the players who are trying to do the right thing with the platform that they have.”

Eight NFL players and coaches who spoke with The Root on the condition of anonymity confirmed that team owners, team management and members of the coaching staffs have instructed them not to make any demonstration during the national anthem.

That doesn’t deter Jenkins, who told NBC that even if Lurie were to say what Jones said on Sunday, he would still demonstrate.

“I would still do it,” Jenkins said. “I mean, I’ve been that committed to it because that decision is not mine. I made the decision a year ago that I was going to use my platform in a way to create positive change both on the field and off the field, and having someone tell me I couldn’t do that simply because, you know, a president or your bottom line is getting ready to be affected, that wouldn’t deter me.”

Read more at NBC Sports.