PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is apologizing after sharing posts supporting anti-Semitism on his social media page. Jackson posted a video on Instagram Tuesday shortly after the Eagles released a statement saying they were “disappointed” in the wide receiver.
“I post a lot of things that are sent to me. I do not have hatred towards anyone,” Jackson said. “I really didn’t realize what this passage was saying. Hitler has caused terrible pain to Jewish people like the pain African-Americans have suffered. We should be together fighting anti-Semitism and racism. This was a mistake to post this and I truly apologize for posting it and sorry for any hurt I have caused.”
The Eagles called Jackson’s posts “offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling.”
“We have spoken with DeSean Jackson about his social media posts,” the tweet reads. “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.”
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) July 7, 2020
Jackson received backlash after sharing an Instagram story that showed a passage from a book that allegedly quotes Adolf Hitler and he also posted photos praising Islamic leader Louis Farrakhan.
The passage Jackson highlighted reads: “Hitler said, ‘because the white Jews knows [sic] that the Negroes are the real Children of Israel and to keep Americas [sic] secret the Jews will blackmail America. The [sic] will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were. The white citizens of America will be terrified to know that all this time they’ve been mistreating and discriminating and lynching the Children of Israel.'”
The passage goes on to say: “‘They will fear God will destroy them as he destroyed Egypt for doing the same thing. So the Elite, the Illuminati keeps this a secret at all cost [sic]. After I die I will one day cause World War 3 just by this message which will be like planting a seed in a people minds [sic] until it sprouts once they nurture that seed and seek more truth and learn Hitler was right.'”
Snopes.com says the quote was not actually said by Hitler.
DeSean Jackson, posts a quote from Hitler, says he’s not anti-Semitic and then highlights the particularly anti-Semitic part.
As an Eagles fan, this is disgusting. Where is the response from the team and the NFL? pic.twitter.com/MFPmz0PyOY
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) July 7, 2020
In response to critics, Jackson posted a statement saying, “Anyone who feels I have hate towards the Jewish community took my post the wrong way. I have no hatred in my heart towards no one!! Equality equality.”
He then posted the passage a second time but blacked out the majority of the quote to emphasize the portion he was referring to, “The [sic] will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were.”
But by that time the post had already started to catch fire and people were calling for a response from the Eagles’ organization.
StopAntisemitism.org tweeted Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie and Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman asking if they were “cool with your wide receiver [DeSean Jackson] quoting Hitler and proclaiming he was right?”
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) July 6, 2020
Former Eagles president Joe Banner called the posts “absolutely indefensible.”
“If a white player said anything about AA’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. Which would be totally appropriate. Absolutely indefensible.”
If a white player said anything about AA’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. Which would be totally appropriate. Absolutely indefensible.
— Joe Banner (@JoeBanner13) July 7, 2020
Jackson also posted images of accused anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, calling him a “powerful” man.
“#farrakhan This man powerful I hope everyone got a chance to watch this!! Don’t be blinded. Know what’s going on !!,” his Instagram caption read.
Shira Goodman of the Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia says Jackson needs to learn about why his posts were harmful.
“If you’ve done something wrong you need to take responsibility, you need to understand it,” Goodman said. “I don’t think that posting Hitler and Farrakhan demonstrates understanding the damage and danger of hate of all kinds, whatever the “ism” you have, anti-Semitism, racism, what we’re seeing a lot now during the coronavirus, biased against the Asian American community, all those kinds of hates are extremely dangerous.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is also calling for Jackson to become more educated about anti-Semitism.
“The anti-Semitic comments displayed by DeSean Jackson on his Instagram are deeply offensive and disturbing,” the statement said. “These words have been used for centuries to support the vilification and extermination of Jews. As a representative of our city, we call on DeSean Jackson to stop spreading hate and bigotry and to become better educated about anti-Semitism.”
Jackson again tweeted an apology Tuesday night, saying “this apology is more than just words — it is a promise to do better.”
— Desean Jackson (@DeSeanJackson10) July 7, 2020
Jackson vowed to educate himself and work with local and national organizations to make a difference in the community.
“He made a stupid mistake! Everyone needs to stop being so political!” South Philadelphia resident Albert Massaro said.
That’s what many Eagles fans Eyewitness News spoke with are saying about Jackson’s comments.
“Tell me if you’ve never made a mistake in your life or said something that you regret from doing. No one out there can say they’ve never made a mistake in their life,” South Philadelphia resident Gerald Matthews said.
“Everybody needs to stop being so political, it just is what it is. People are going to make mistakes and that’s it,” one man said.
Eagles’ management says they are continuing to evaluate the circumstances and will take appropriate action.
Jackson spoke with a local rabbi Tuesday, who says he will share what they discussed in the near future.
CBS3’s Pat Gallen, Alyssa Adams and Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.