Jul 13, 2020 - Sports

DeSean Jackson's anti-Semitic posts kick off weeklong firestorm

DeSean Jackson.
Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

When Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted an anti-Semitic quote on Instagram last week, falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, it set off a firestorm that built over a week.

What happened: Jackson first apologized within a day, claiming he "didn't realize what this passage was saying," but plenty of people jumped into the fray from various sports leagues to both defend and criticize him over the incident.

  • The quote's genesis is still a bit of a mystery, but the beliefs espoused are undeniably anti-Semitic in saying that white Jews "will blackmail America. [They] will extort America, their plan for world domination won't work if the Negroes know who they were."

Timeline:

  • Monday: After posting videos of noted anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, Jackson posts a passage falsely attributed to Hitler.
  • Tuesday: The Eagles publicly condemn Jackson's post, and he apologizes. Meanwhile, former NBA player Stephen Jackson, a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, defends DeSean, saying he was "speaking the truth."
  • Wednesday: Various NFL players, including Zach Banner and Mitchell Schwartz, post messages condemning anti-Semitism. Stephen Jackson doubles down on his defense of DeSean with anti-Semitic comments of his own, before later apologizing on CNN.
  • Thursday: Patriots WR Julian Edelman, who is Jewish, responds to Jackson's post and invites him to jointly tour the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  • Friday: The Eagles fine Jackson an undisclosed amount. Meanwhile, Jackson speaks with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Edward Mosberg.

The bottom line: We'll never know Jackson's true feelings, but if the last few months have taught us anything, it's that systemic issues can often be as much a product of ignorance as outright evil or anything else.

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