There is no way to defend what Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson did.
He posted remarks on social media that are anti-Semitic, plain and simple.
Jackson said he has no hatred toward the Jewish community after posting on social media on Monday an anti-Semitic message that he falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, whose Nazis regime carried out the Holocaust during World War II.
On his Instagram page, Jackson featured a quote that said white Jews “will blackmail America. [They] will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were.”
On Sunday, Jackson highlighted several paragraphs that purport to quote Hitler saying Black people were the “real Children of Israel” and claim that white Jewish people were secretly behind horrendous acts of violence against people of color, including lynching.
First, referring to Hitler as an authority on Jewish people is abhorrent. Second, linking Jewish people and world domination is a classic anti-Semitic trope.
Jackson shared a passage that has long been debunked as an internet meme attempting to claim Hitler was not a racist.
After receiving criticism on social media, Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, said the posts were taken “the wrong way.”
“Anyone who feels I have hate towards the Jewish community took my post the wrong way,” he posted on Instagram along with the highlighted passage that was attributed to Hitler. “I have no hatred in my heart toward no one!! Equality. Equality.”
At the end, he added raised fist emojis in multiple skin tones.
Jackson later issued a formal apology.
“My post was definitely not intended for anybody of any race to feel any type of way, especially the Jewish community,” Jackson said in a video he posted on Instagram on Tuesday. “I post things on my story all the time, and just probably never should have posted anything Hitler did, because Hitler was a bad person, and I know that.”
Former Eagles President Joe Banner called Jackson’s posts “absolutely indefensible.”
“If a white player said anything about [African-Americans] as outrageous as what DeSean Jackson said about Jews tonight there would at least be a serious conversation about cutting him and a need for a team meeting to discuss [the matter],” Banner wrote.
Writing on Twitter, Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill called Jackson’s Instagram post “disappointing and disturbing,” adding, “There’s no defending it.”
The Philadelphia Eagles released a statement Tuesday that said the team was “continuing to evaluate the circumstances.”
“We have spoken with DeSean Jackson about his social media posts,” the statement read. “Regardless of his intentions, the messages he shared were offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling. They have no place in our society, and are not condoned or supported in any way by the organization. We are disappointed and we iterated to DeSean the importance of not only apologizing, but also using his platform to take action to promote unity, equality, and respect.
“We are continuing to evaluate the circumstances and will take appropriate action. We take these matters very seriously and are committed to continuing to have productive and meaningful conversations with DeSean, as well as all of our players and staff, in order to educate, learn, and grow,” it said.
Jackson also shared several posts pushing a conspiracy theory on a potential coronavirus vaccine. In one, he referred to philanthropist Melinda Gates, the wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, as a “dumb broad” after she advocated for Black people and Native Americans to be among the first to obtain any vaccine due to their increased risk factors to the virus, which has hit minority communities the hardest.
Jackson is a sports celebrity of national influence. He has a responsibility not to spread anti-Semitic messages and unfounded conspiracy theories.