Jackson

Different Perspectives on DeSean Jackson and his Anti-Semitic Posts

  • DeSean Jackson
  • Howie Roseman
  • Jeffrey Lurie
  • Philadelphia Eagles
By Anthony Miller July 10, 2020 0 Comment

With many people speaking on DeSean Jackson and his anti-Semitic posts, Eli Pearl and Anthony Miller share their perspectives on Jackson’s comments.

Eli Pearl’s Heritage Perspective

Experience at Young Age

Before the Rams came to Los Angeles, every single L.A. football fan had some random allegiance to some football. Most people had families in different cities with teams, so they rooted for those teams. A lot of people in Los Angeles were born somewhere else, so they just stayed in their fandoms when they moved to Southern California. Some people stayed being fans of the Raiders after they left, and others became bandwagon Patriots fans. But some people just randomly chose teams and stuck with it. And as a kid whose family was from Detroit and had two football apathetic parents, I fell into the last category.

For some reason, I just became an Eagles fan. That means I also became a massive DeSean Jackson fan. I really have no idea why, but I genuinely loved the guy. He’s the guy who got me into football, and is easily my favorite football player ever. I have some photos of me in kindergarten with this oversized D-Jax jersey, and when I started fantasy football in second grade, I drafted him in the first round. In retrospect, that was a terrible idea.

Besides being a sports fan, one thing that is a big part of my identity is my Jewish heritage. While I’m not extremely religiously Jewish, I highly cherish my cultural Jewish upbringing. I was Bar Mitzvah-ed a couple years ago, and still try to engage with the religion whenever I can. But as I said before, I identify with the cultural aspect of Judaism much more than the religious side. We call it being “Jew-ish” or being a pastrami Jew. But I still really respect my Jewish ancestry and heritage, which is why this DeSean Jackson saga hurts a lot.

The People Mentioned in Jackson’s Posts

What Jackson actually said isn’t that new when it comes to anti-Semitic remarks. He really just mentioned the most common conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic tropes, like world domination and extorting America. The obvious issue is this quote is an incorrect quote that is attributed to Adolf Hitler, which is frankly inexcusable and ridiculous. There really isn’t much to say there. I am not going to justify misquoting Hitler, but instead look at why DeSean said what he said.

Jackson was quoting Louis Farrakhan’s book, and Farrakhan is a huge factor in Jackson making these comments. For those that don’t know, Louis Farrakhan is a leader of the Nation of Islam, which is classified as a Black Supremacist hate group who is strongly anti-white, anti-jewish, anti-gay, and anti-woman.

This is the same Nation of Islam that Malcolm X grew to prominence with. Farrakhan himself is a proud anti-semite, calling Hitler, “A very great man”. But Farrakhan is also a decently prominent figure in the African American community. He organized the Million Man March, and while many African Americans denounce him, Farrakhan still has a sizable following in the community. And his anti-Jewish narrative has become decently subscribed to by many people, including Jackson. 

The Meaning Behind the Comments

The main cause of any bigotry is lack of exposure. It’s easy to be xenophobic to a group of people when you don’t know anyone in said group. It’s easy to scapegoat a group if you have no experience with the group, and all you hear is bad things about them. I believe this is the issue with DeSean Jackson here. I don’t think that DeSean inherently hates Jews. But he likely hasn’t interacted with many Jews, and the Jews he has interacted with likely are in positions of massive financial wealth/power, which adds to the stereotypes that he has already heard.

As former Jewish NFL player and current sportswriter Geoff Schwartz explained, “A lot of players in locker rooms don’t know anything about Judaism”. He explains how players, “weren’t raised around Jews, they never talked to any Jews, they don’t understand what anti-Semitism is, or could be.”

This is what I attribute the issue too. It’s xenophobia and scapegoating: Fear of the foreign. People also look for scapegoats. The African-American community has been treated horribly in America for 400 years, and it is justified that many of them feel anger towards this. It’s even more natural to want to find a reason for this oppression, or a scapegoat. And Jews are a relatively easy scapegoat. Unfortunately, this is a familiar feeling in the community.

Final Thoughts on Jackson Posts

Ever since ancient times, when only Jews were able to handle money, anti-Semitic conspiracies have followed Jews. Those conspiracies have morphed and been perpetuated by anti-Semites. These anti-Semitic tropes have evolved into things like “Jews control the world”, and whatnot. These stereotypes are perpetuated in media where Jews are viewed as rich and wealthy. The other thing is that there isn’t a very large Jewish population, but especially not in the sports world. That means that someone like Jackson may not have ever met a Jew. And if he had met a Jew, it likely would be an NFL owner, which perpetuates the stereotypes he had heard about how Jews were rich and powerful.

Hate is bred by a lack of exposure. It is easy to hate something you don’t know, or demonize a group of people that you just haven’t encountered. And the only way to truly rid oneself of hate is to become exposed to who you are taught to hate and learn that at the end of the day, everybody is human. DeSean Jackson appears to want to do this, which is commendable. Chair of the Philadelphia Holocaust memorial David Adelman announced that DeSean will take a tour of the memorial, which is a first step in the right direction.

What Jackson said was abhorrent, inexcusable, and disgusting. It will take a long time for Jackson to rebuild his reputation, and prove that he is not a hateful anti-semite. But this is a step in the right direction. And if Jackson proves that he is an ally to the Jewish community, and truth through his actions construes this, I will regain my respect for him and root for him on Sundays. But that is going to take a very long time.

Anthony Miller’s Football Perspective

How Jackson’s Comments Affects Football and City Communities

Jackson’s comments hurt multiple people within the Jewish community. This includes members of the Eagles’ front office. Owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman are both Jewish. Jackson apologized to both of them. Lurie’s company, Play/Action Pictures, just completed a documentary called “The Meaning of Hitler” that has been three years in the making.

Many people in the Eagles’ organization and the Jewish community is hurting. People are speaking out against what he said, but not many players have spoken out against him. Some of his teammates have commented on the subject like Marquise Goodwin, but most have not. The controversy will continue as Jackson is going to have to rebuild the relationships with Lurie and Roseman.

What Kind of Punishment Should Jackson Face?

What Jackson said has been criticized by the majority of people, but there is a split on what the Eagles or the NFL should do about it. There are four choices Philadelphia can pick from. They can fine him for his actions, they can suspend him, they can do nothing about it, or cut him altogether.

Cutting him could be a complicated option for the team. ESPN’s Adam Schefter posted on social media suggesting that Philadelphia could find a way to get out of the deal.

Fining or suspending Jackson seems to be the most appropriate action that the Eagles will most likely take. Some people would bring up the incident back in 2013 with former Eagles receiver Riley Cooper. Cooper used a racial slur about African-Americans. The Eagles resigned Cooper after incident. The organization will make sure to have him educated more on the Jewish community and history. Patriots receiver Julian Edelman invited Jackson to visit museums of Jewish and African-American’s history to educate each other. Edelman is vocal about his faith.

Jackson must show with action that he can learn from this experience and grow from it. Spending time with Edelman and working with the Jewish community would go a long way in helping rebuild his image. Ultimately, Jackson can bounce back from this.

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XFL, NFL, Arena Football Writer for multiple sites. I will be covering the Philadelphia Eagles for The Brawl Network.

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