July 07, 2020
DeSean Jackson shared anti-semitic quotes attributed to Adolf Hitler on his Instagram story over the July 4th holiday, and continued to use the quotes as a conversation piece during several posts on the social media network on Monday afternoon.
The controversy started with a single story post over the weekend, in which Jackson shared the following quote purportedly from Hitler:
The quote's origin* and the original source is dubious at best, traced backward to e-books published by authors of little repute, though that seems to be beside the point, as Jackson appears to believe Hitler is the source and is (at least passively) endorsing the message, filled with anti-semitic tropes about Jewish people secretly controlling the world.
(*Research suggests the screenshotted passage is from the book "Jerusalem" by Dennine Barnett, as the font in Jackson's post matches text in that book. But Barnett attributes the quote to a book by historian Robert Edwin Herzstein, "The Nazis World War II," published in July 1980.)
Jackson's original post follows what appears to be a July 4th weekend where he spent a considerable amount of time watching and listening to Minister Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam, with Jackson posting several times about his hours-long speech in the days since.
"This man powerful," Jackson said. "I hope everyone got a chance to watch this!! Don't be blinded. Know what's going on!!"
Farrakhan, who has routinely been dubbed anti-semitic and homophobic by watchdog groups, first came under fire for anti-semitism in the mid-1980s, when he reportedly referred to Judaism as a "dirty religion" and later said Hitler was "a very great man" after being dubbed "Black Hitler" by the Chair of the Anti-Defamation League:
Here the Jews don't like Farrakhan and so they call me 'Hitler'. Well that's a good name. Hitler was a very great man. He wasn't great for me as a Black man but he was a great German and he rose Germany up from the ashes of her defeat by the united force of all of Europe and America after the First World War. Yet Hitler took Germany from the ashes and rose her up and made her the greatest fighting machine of the twentieth century, brothers and sisters, and even though Europe and America had deciphered the code that Hitler was using to speak to his chiefs of staff, they still had trouble defeating Hitler even after knowing his plans in advance. Now I'm not proud of Hitler's evil toward Jewish people, but that's a matter of record. He rose Germany up from nothing.
More recently, a video Farrakhan recorded for Facebook was removed from the social media platform for violating hate speech policies. In the video, Farrakhan referred to Jewish people critical of his views as "termites." During his Saturday speech, Farrakhan accused Dr. Fauci, Bill Gates, and Melinda Gates of attempting to "depopulate the Earth" through the use of a future COVID-19 vaccine, though he has repeatedly denied that he is an anti-semite.
Undeterred by Farrakhan's record of anti-semitism or the nature of posting a quote he believed to be from Hitler, Jackson offered Monday that anyone who believed the quote to be hateful to the Jewish community, "took my post the wrong way." In an additional follow-up post, Jackson shared the image of the passage once again, leaving only the following block of text: "The [sic] will extort America, their plan for world domination won't work if the Negroes know who they were."
Jackson's continued posts were met with strong criticism across social media on Monday evening, with former Eagles President Joe Banner, a Jewish man, calling Jackson's actions, "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
PhillyVoice attempted to contact the Eagles about the matter on Monday evening, and a request for comment had not yet been returned at time of publication.
UPDATE [Tuesday, 11:50 a.m.] — The Philadelphia Eagles have released the following statement regarding DeSean Jackson's Instagram posts:
UPDATE [Tuesday, 12:02 p.m.] — Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson released an apology on Instagram in response to the reaction over his previous posts with quotes attributed to Hitler.
"I post a lot of things that are sent to me. I do not have hatred towards anyone," Jackson wrote. "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."
He also posted this video to go along with the above comments...
UPDATE [Tuesday, 7:00 p.m.] — DeSean Jackson offered an additional apology via social media on Tuesday evening, directing a specific apology to the Jewish community as well as several prominent members of the Eagles' organization.
"I want to apologize to the Jewish community, Jeffery 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 said. "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.
His full statement is below: