Several NFL players have condemned anti-Semitic messages posted on social media by Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson earlier this week.
After a flurry of criticism, including from his own team, Jackson apologized for the anti-Semitic posts, which included a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler.
Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was among those to address Jackson’s post.
“I’m proud of my Jewish heritage and, for me, it’s not just about religion. It’s about community and culture as well,” Edelman said in a video. “This world needs a little more love, compassion, and empathy.”
Edelman, whose father is Jewish, also offered to take Jackson to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Chiefs offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz and Steelers offensive lineman Zach Banner also shared emotional statements on Wednesday addressing Jackson’s comments. Schwartz was additionally by his brother and former offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz in condemnation of Jackson’s remarks.
“This video is to transition from the incident, and move forward as a community,” Banner tweeted. “Not to harp on [Jackson’s] mistake, but to progress by educating ourselves. We can’t move forward while allowing ourselves to leave another minority race in the dark.”
Banner referenced the 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, noting that incident occurred during his first year with the team.
“We need to understand that Jewish people deal with the same amount of hate and similar hardships and hard times,” Banner said. “I’m not trying to get emotional right now but I want to preach to the Black and brown community that we need to uplift them and put our arms around them just as much. When we talk about Black Lives Matter and talk about elevating ourselves, we can’t do that while stepping on the back of other people to elevate ourselves.”
Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League’s Philadelphia chapter and the American Jewish Committee, praised Banner’s comments.
Jackson reportedly met with Philadelphia rabbi Doniel Grodnitzky on Tuesday, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark. Philadelphia’s wide receiver also issued a lengthy apology for his “insensitive and ill-informed comments.”
“My intention was to uplift, unite and encourage our culture with positivity and light. Unfortunately, that did not happen,” Jackson wrote. “I unintentionally hurt the Jewish community in the process and for that I am sorry. Now, more than ever, we must work together to end discrimination of all types and against all people and communities.”
“This apology is more than just words. It is a promise to do better.”
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