July 7 (UPI) — The Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday denounced anti-Semitic messages that wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted on social media and said it would take “appropriate action.”
On his Instagram story Monday, Jackson posted an image of a quote falsely attributed to Adolf 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.”
Jackson shared two additional posts on social media — which have since been deleted — over the last few days, expressing his admiration for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have identified Farrakhan as anti-Semitic and homophobic.
The Eagles called Jackson’s posts “offensive, harmful and absolutely appalling.” According to ESPN, Jackson already discussed the incident with general manager Howie Roseman and team owner Jeffrey Lurie, who expressed disappointment with the speedy receiver. Lurie and Roseman are Jewish.
“We have spoken with DeSean Jackson about his social media posts,” the team said in a 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.”
The NFL released a statement Tuesday saying Jackson’s posts were “highly inappropriate, offensive and divisive and stand in stark contrast to the NFL’s values of respect, equality and inclusion.” The league said it has been in communication with the Eagles about the matter.
Jackson, 33, posted an apology video Tuesday on Instagram and said he “really didn’t realize what this passage [attributed to Hitler] was saying.” He said he was “sorry for any hurt I have caused.”
“I just want to first off extend an apology on behalf of me and what I stand for because … I never want to put any race down or any people down,” Jackson said in the video. “My post was definitely not intended for anybody of any race to feel any type of way, especially the Jewish community.
“What I posted, I definitely didn’t mean it to the extent that you guys took it, and I just wanted to let you guys know that I’m, you know, very apologetic, and I just want you guys to understand that it never was intended … to put any race down or any religion down.
“… I just probably should have never posted anything that Hitler did, because Hitler was a bad person, and I know that. I was just trying to uplift African Americans and slavery and just enlighten my people. … I didn’t intend any harm or any hatred toward any people. … I’m for love and I extend it every day.”
Later Tuesday, Jackson issued another apology on social media, promising to “fully educate myself and work with local and national organizations to be more informed and make a difference in our community.”
The Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia on Tuesday condemned Jackson’s messages and asked him to “immediately apologize” and learn more about Farrakhan’s “disturbing history of hate and antisemitism.”
The Philadelphia organization later reacted to Jackson’s apology and the Eagles’ quick response to the wideout’s social media posts.
“ADL appreciates @DeSeanJackson10 apology for the #antisemitic posts on his Instagram and the @Eagles condemnation of them,” the organization wrote on Twitter. “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.”
The Eagles signed Jackson to a three-year contract in March 2019. It is his second stint with the franchise after spending the previous five seasons with the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.