At the beginning of July, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, DeSean Jackson, shared a number of posts that were both degrading and offensive towards the Jewish community.
The posts included quotes that were falsely attributed to Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler. Since then, Jackson has acknowledged his mistake, apologizing for and deleting the posts. However, his doing so could just be a reaction to the backlash that he received after sharing those posts.
At a time when the fight for equality has gained huge momentum with the Black Lives Matter movement, incidents like this show that, whilst we should continue to do everything we can to support the Black Lives Matter movement and social justice, we can’t afford to forget about the many other issues in the United States when it comes to racial inequality.
When Jackson shared those posts, there was instant outrage from people all over social media, not only from the Jewish community but also from people who are not Jewish at all; they all felt that Jackson had crossed a line with his social media activity.
His own team, the Philadelphia Eagles, ended up fining him for his actions, which were detrimental to the team. The Eagles even released a strong statement making it clear that they do not agree with any of Jackson’s views on the topic, and that his posts do not represent the beliefs of their organization.
Whilst it was nice to see his own team as well as people from the outside supporting the Jewish community, there were still others who felt that what DeSean Jackson did was not wrong at all.
For example, former NBA player Stephen Jackson commented that DeSean Jackson was both “educating others” and “speaking the truth.”
The most shocking part about Stephen Jackson’s support of DeSean Jackson’s antisemitic posts is that just weeks prior, he was a huge figure in the Black Lives Matter movement.
He was a close friend of George Floyd and after Floyd’s death, Stephen Jackson was one of the most influential people in advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Therefore, many people felt that he came off as being hypocritical after he had spent weeks prior fighting for equality for his community, yet in this instance had turned a blind eye towards another community being attacked.
However, Stephen Jackson has also since apologized for his statement and has said that his comments were twisted and did not represent his true standing.
NBA legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, criticized both Jacksons for their posts and shared a powerful Martin Luther King Jr quote; “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In other words, if we are fighting for racial equality and justice with the Black Lives Matter movement, we can’t afford to put down other races or religions. Doing so would just defeat the whole purpose of equality.
Newly-crowned Super Bowl champion and Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle, Mitchell Schwartz, took a different approach in reacting to DeSean Jackson’s posts. Schwartz, who is Jewish, did not criticize DeSean Jackson for his beliefs, but instead said that he believed DeSean Jackson’s actions came from a place of ignorance.
Schwartz, who played with DeSean Jackson in college, said that he doesn’t think DeSean Jackson’s intent was to promote hate. “I truly don’t think DeSean meant any sort of hate or anything,” he said. “I think it came way more from a place of ignorance.”
Since his posts, DeSean Jackson has reached out to members of the Jewish community, including several rabbis, Philadelphia 76ers owner Michael G. Rubin, and 94-year-old Holocaust survivor, Edward Mosberg. DeSean Jackson has also agreed to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, a museum dedicated to remembering the lives lost at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
DeSean Jackson has been very open-minded in these discussions and appears to have learned from his mistakes. Mitchell Schwartz has praised his former teammate for making efforts to educate himself, and he hopes that this experience will help DeSean Jackson understand what he did wrong and find a way to move forward in a better manner.
For years, Jews have been discriminated against all over the world; unfortunately, the United States is no less guilty than any other country when it comes to antisemitism.
DeSean Jackson’s posts were not the first antisemitic propaganda that made headline news and is unlikely to be the last. It is important for people to educate themselves, before making any inappropriate statements or claims.
Learn about the history of the Jewish community and how Jews have struggled even way before World War II. The world is slowly making strides in fighting for racial equality with the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
A major goal of the current social justice movements is to make sure that people from all walks of life feel that the United States is a safe country for them to live in and that they do not have to worry about being attacked for who they are.