Jenkins explains decision to give his Super Bowl tickets to Kempis Songster.
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is a finalist for the NFL's Walter Payton Award due to his work with the Players Coalition, and as a result he was given two additional tickets to Super Bowl LII.
Jenkins, who has advocated for education, criminal justice and law enforcement reform, decided to give those tickets to a man named Kempis Songster, who was released from a maximum-security prison last month after serving 30 years behind bars.
According to CBS Sports, Songster, 45, was convicted of murder when he was a teenager and originally sentenced to mandatory life in prison but his sentence was cut short when the Supreme Court ruled two years to that automatic life sentences for juveniles was unconstitutional.
Jenkins, who met Songster on December 29th, the day after his release, told the New York Daily News,
"I didn't know what, but I knew I wanted to do something to celebrate him coming home because I understood he really dedicated himself to a life of service and he's trying to repay what he's taken from society. I know he has some great ideas and we're trying to accomplish the same thing when we talk about reform and healing our communities."
"Once I got the opportunity to get those tickets through the Man of the Year, he was the first person that popped in my mind," said Jenkins. "I know normally, people give those to kids or people who may be sick or who are well deserving, but I wanted to have an example that sometimes we can think outside the box and we can listen and hear from one another, so what better platform than the Super Bowl to show those examples?
"Because he's someone I'm going to lean on for insight of what's going on, who has been through the process, knows what's going on, how people are being affected," he continued. "Those are the voices I want to amplify when we talk about trying to change it. You have to be able to engage and Kempis is a great example of that."
Jenkins and the Eagles will take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII this Sunday, February 4th at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.