The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, 33, caused an uproar when he ‘mistakenly’ posted an anti-Semitic quotation to his Instagram Story, which he believed to have been the words of Adolf Hitler. Although Jackson took down the photo shortly after fans began calling him out, the aftermath of his actions is still affecting the Jewish community today.
Jackson had posted a photo of a racist and anti-Semitic quotation attributed to Adolf Hitler, which was highlighted on the page of a book. The quotation supposedly came from Hitler, claiming that he would cause World War III after his death. Hitler is known as the orchestrator of World War II, also commonly referred to as ‘the Holocaust’, where over six million Jewish people were extinguished at the hands of the Nazi Party (Hitler’s army of German soldiers).
Eventually, it was discovered that the quote was falsely attributed to Hitler. The Philadelphia Eagles were quick to condemn the star’s shameful post, calling the incident “offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling”, according to The New York Times.
On numerous occasions, Jackson took to social media to voice his apologies, none of which were considered genuine nor acceptable. Initially, he labeled his actions as ‘a mistake’, explaining, that he “really didn’t realize what this passage was saying” and that “we should be together fighting anti-Semitism and racism”. Another evening, he apologized on his Twitter platform, writing that his intention was only “to uplift, unite and encourage our culture” but, instead, had “unintentionally hurt the Jewish community”. The Jewish community has yet to accept his apology.
Former Eagles president Joe Banner responded to the situation, saying “If a white player said anything about African American’s 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 Philadelphia Eagles made a collective statement regarding Jackson’s posts saying, “We reiterated to DeSean the importance of not only apologizing but also using his platform to take action to promote unity, equality, and respect”.
According to ESPN, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is Jewish, invited DeSean to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “I have seen DeSean play in his career, make outstanding football plays, we’ve communicated over social media,” he stated in an Instagram video. “I’ve got nothing but respect for his game. I know he said some ugly things, but I do see an opportunity to have a conversation”.
A Holocaust survivor named Edward Mosberg, 94, reached out to the Eagles wide receiver, inviting Jackson to visit Auschwitz with him, in a formal invitation that has gone viral on the Internet. “I would like to invite you to join me at the sites of these German Nazi death camps, to understand what evil truly is, and why sharing quotes of the man behind this evil, is so offensive to us all,” one paragraph reads. It is unknown what Jackson’s response to the invitation is.
DeSean has announced that he would work to educate himself and “work with local and national organizations to be more informed and make a difference” in the harmed community. Many are still dubious about his truthfulness given his past support for Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, and an infamous anti-Semite. In 2018, Farrakhan posted a video to Facebook, in which he compared the Jewish people to termites. It was shortly taken down for violating hate speech policies.
So far, the National Football League (NFL) and the Philadelphia Eagles team have yet to determine what the appropriate disciplinary action is. They are currently evaluating the circumstances, but no formal action has been taken as of mid-July.