Philadelphia is still reveling after the Eagles played their way to Super Bowl LII competitor status on Sunday. But it’s safe to say one particular Philadelphian is more excited than most.
Kempis Songster was released from prison after serving a 30-year sentence for murdering someone as a minor. While imprisoned, he found a friend in Eagles’ star safety and activist Malcolm Jenkins. After the Eagles’ victory against the Minnesota Vikings, the NFL player realized he was no longer in need of the Superbowl tickets he won. So he gave them to Songster.
Jenkins, who was a contender for the 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, co-founded the NFL Players Coalition, which is dedicated to addressing social issues in the wake of the NFL protests.
One way in which Jenkins has dedicated himself to improving the quality of life for marginalized communities was by speaking at Graterford Prison in Pennsylvania. The visit was an attempt to understand the criminal justice system and the plights of prisoners.
The trip would also prove fruitful as Jenkins didn’t have to think too long and hard about who would get his ticket to the annual sports event. From an article, he learned of Songster’s recent release. His release came by way of Pennsylvania’s retroactive application of its decision to eradicate life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders.
“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,” he told the New York Daily News. “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?” he added.
“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 said. “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.”