A Jewish NFL player is speaking out following overt anti-Semitism from a fellow player.
Earlier this week, Philadelphia Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson on Instagram made a series of anti-Semitic social media posts. He later walked back those comments, but then on an Instagram live with the receiver, ex-NBA player Stephen Jackson defended the comments.
It was both an awful and inexcusable look for both. But on Thursday morning, New England Patriots star Julian Edelman, who is Jewish, responded to DeSean Jackson.
Here’s a full transcript of what he said. (Warning: Edelman does quote a Jewish slur that once was directed at him in his comments)
I’ve been getting hit up by everyone asking me about this DeSean Jackson post, and I wanted to take some time before I respond because it’s a complicated issue and I wanted to be thoughtful. I wrote down some of my thinking.
I have seen DeSean play in his career, make outstanding football plays, we’ve communicated over social media. 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.
I am proud of my Jewish heritage, and for me, it’s not just about religion, it’s about community and culture as well. I am unusual because I didn’t identify as Jewish until later in my life. Whenever I encountered hatred, it never really felt like it was aimed at me. It was only after I was part of this community that I learned how destructive hate is. Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred. It’s rooted in ignorance and fear.
I remember experiencing a little bit of this hate in 2011 when I was called a ‘kike’ on the football field. There’s no room for anti-Semitism in this world. Even though we’re talking about anti-Semitism, I don’t want to distract from how important the Black Lives Matter movement is and how we need to stay behind it. I think the Black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities.
One unfortunate similarity is that they are both attacked by the ignorant and the hateful. It’s really hard to see the challenges a community can face when you’re not part of it. So what we need to do is, we need to listen, we need to learn, we need to act. We need to have these uncomfortable conversations if we’re going to have real change.
So to that end, DeSean, let’s do a deal. How about we go to DC and I take you to the Holocaust Museum and then you take me to the museum of African American History and Culture. Afterwards, we’ll grab some burgers and we have those uncomfortable conversations.
This world needs a little more love, compassion and empathy. Take care.