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Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson said he has no hatred toward the Jewish community and issued two separate statements of apology with “a promise to do better” after he posted on social media Monday an anti-Semitic message that he attributed to Adolf Hitler and admiration for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
The Eagles on Tuesday responded by calling Jackson’s posts “offensive, harmful and absolutely appalling” and said the team would take “appropriate action.” Team owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman are Jewish.
Jackson spoke with Lurie late Tuesday afternoon, a source told ESPN’s Tim McManus, with Lurie expressing deep disappointment in his player. Jackson expressed a desire to educate himself and work directly with the Jewish community, and a short time later, his camp contacted the rabbi at Chabad Young Philly to discuss ways for Jackson to donate and work with the organization.
The controversy spun out of Jackson’s Instagram story, on which he featured a quote he attributed to Hitler that said white Jews “will blackmail America. [They] will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were.”
He also shared two posts on Instagram — on Saturday and on Monday — expressing admiration for Farrakhan, whom the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have identified as anti-Semitic. Those posts have since been deleted.
“We have spoken with DeSean Jackson about his social media posts,” the Eagles said in their statement. “Regardless of his intentions, the messages he shared were offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling. They have no place in our society, and are not condoned or supported in any way by the organization.
“We are disappointed and we reiterated to DeSean the importance of not only apologizing, but also using his platform to take action to promote unity, equality, and respect. We are continuing to evaluate the circumstances and will take appropriate action. We take these matters very seriously and are committed to continuing to have productive and meaningful conversations with DeSean, as well as all of our players and staff, in order to educate, learn, and grow.”
Jackson also spoke with Roseman, a source told McManus. No discussion of a suspension or termination has been raised with Jackson to this point, a source added.
The NFL released a statement Tuesday calling Jackson’s comments “highly inappropriate, offensive and divisive” and saying they “stand in stark contrast to the NFL’s values of respect, equality and inclusion.” The league said it has been in contact with the Eagles on the matter.
Jackson on Tuesday posted an apology on Instagram, saying he “really didn’t realize what this passage [attributed to Hitler] was saying” and that he is “sorry for any hurt I have caused.”
He posted an additional apology to his social media accounts after meeting with Lurie, noting “this apology is more than just words — it is a promise to do better.”
“I want to apologize to the Jewish community, Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson, the Eagles organization and our fans for the insensitive and ill-informed posts that I shared on my social media,” Jackson wrote in his follow-up statement. “My intention was to uplift, unite and encourage our culture with positivity and light. Unfortunately, that did not happen. 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. I will fully educate myself and work with local and national organizations to be more informed and make a difference in our community. I will consider my words and actions going forward. I will seek out voices from other communities and listen to their words, thoughts and beliefs. In a time of division, I am committed to doing my part in making this world a better place for our children.”
Jackson and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz have spoken, a source told ESPN, after Wentz reached out to try to understand where Jackson was coming from.
After initially receiving criticism on social media, Jackson on Monday said the posts were taken “the wrong way.”
“Anyone who feels I have hate towards the Jewish community took my post the wrong way,” he posted on his Instagram story, along with the highlighted passage that was attributed to Hitler. “I have no hatred in my heart toward no one!! Equality. Equality.”
At the end, he added raised fist emojis in multiple skin tones.
The Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia on Tuesday asked on social media for Jackson to “immediately apologize” and to learn more about Farrakhan’s “disturbing history of hate and antisemitism.”
The organization later reacted to Jackson’s apology and the Eagles’ strong condemnation of the wide receiver’s original Instagram posts.
ADL appreciates @DeSeanJackson10 apology for the #antisemitic posts on his Instagram and the @Eagles condemnation of them. It’s our hope he uses this moment as a chance to work with the Jewish community and educate himself further on how dangerous and hurtful antisemitism is.
— ADL Philadelphia (@ADLPhiladelphia) July 7, 2020