PHILADELPHIA — The image of their playoff run has been a rubber canine masks, however the soundtrack of the Eagles’ surge to the Tremendous Bowl comes courtesy of Meek Mill, the jailed rapper whose harsh sentence is emblematic of the damaged prison justice system.
Whereas Mill is caught in Pennsylvania’s Chester State Correctional Establishment, his music has been omnipresent all through the Eagles’ march to the most important recreation in sports activities.
The Birds have been taking part in the tunes in workforce conferences and in follow, and final week earlier than the NFC title recreation, it pumped by means of the audio system at Lincoln Monetary Discipline. It regarded like all the workforce was dancing to Mill’s “Desires and Nightmares” throughout warmups, a scene that set the tone for his or her annihilation of the Vikings.
“It simply gave us that juice,” Malcolm Jenkins mentioned after the sport. “I’ve by no means heard the Linc that loud since I have been right here.”
Whereas his music fuels the Eagles, the workforce’s playoff run has been equally encouraging for Mill.
“I am so happy with my Eagles for making the Tremendous Bowl and representing town of Philadelphia,” Mill mentioned in his assertion this week. “It actually lifted my spirit to listen to the workforce rally round my songs as a result of that is why I make music — to encourage others and convey individuals collectively.
“The Eagles have additionally motivated me with the way in which they’ve overcome robust conditions and accidents to succeed this yr,” he mentioned. “That is why I am assured my guys are going to beat the Patriots and convey the Tremendous Bowl trophy to Philly.”
Mill’s Instagram account additionally posted a tribute to the Eagles utilizing his music.
Mill’s case has attracted nationwide consideration. The 30-year-old Philly native was sentenced to as much as 4 years in jail final fall for a probation violation tied to a 2008 gun and drug cost. Frequent Pleas Choose Genece Brinkley cited a failed drug take a look at, Mill’s failure to stick to a journey restriction and two different arrests when sentencing him, however activists really feel Brinkley’s sentence is harsh, and probably the product of a private grudge.
A whole bunch of individuals protested the sentence at a rally in November that was attended by 76ers legend Julius Erving and a number of other Eagles gamers. Jenkins and teammates Torrey Smith, Jalen Mills, Vinny Curry and Wendell Smallwood all attended, with Mills carrying an indication that mentioned “We assist you Meek.” Jenkins additionally addressed the group.
“We can’t sit again and watch our brothers and sisters get hauled off to jail,” he mentioned that evening. “Our leaders, our innovators and our expertise is gone. And for what? For petty violations.”
Colin Kaepernick has additionally visited Mill in jail and supported him on social media.
“Disproportionately America’s prisons are crammed with Black our bodies,” Kaepernick posted on Instagram in November. “This prison (in)justice system, ripe with racial discrimination, stigmatizes, profiles, and targets younger Black males for arrest at a younger age, having its roots of their hyper-policed neighborhoods that they’re raised in, and sadly extending into what needs to be a secure space-the classroom, by way of the college to jail pipeline.
“Meek Mill is a sufferer of this systemic oppression. Sure, there must be motion surrounding sentencing reform, however there must even be motion taken round abolishing the racialized norms of injustice that may result in Meek Mill serving 2-Four years in jail for non-violent parole violations, and Brock Turner solely serving three months in jail for 3 felony counts of sexual assault.”