Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson isn’t the kind of person a father points to and says, “Son, I want you to grow up to be just like him!”
While D-Jax has made some Philadelphia hearts melt and flutter with his pyrotechnics on the playing field, I can no longer “deal” with Jackson. He has shown himself to be a bigot of the highest order, someone who thinks that making Hitler references and posting anti-Semitic remarks on his public social media pages is acceptable.
Over the July 4th weekend, the one where some people were out in the streets protesting against a holiday that honors “white male slaveholders,” Jackson decided to share a post from one of the most hateful, vile and bigoted people in the history of bigots, the “Minister” Louis Farrakhan. The post essentially stated that World War III would be started to stop white Jewish people in America from oppressing the Black community. It allegedly quoted Hitler, and has been universally discredited. There is no doubt, however, that it traffics in the foulest form of Jew hatred.
After initially receiving criticism, Jackson doubled down, reposted the quote and highlighted a portion, then said he had no “hate in my heart” for Jewish people.
How nice. How delightfully nice.
And then, when the Philadelphia Eagles front office got wind of the non-apology, they came out with their own statement condemning Jackson. However, they haven’t yet decided what type of penance he needs to perform in order to retain his position on a team that is run by a lot of Jewish people for whom, apparently, Jackson has no hate in his heart.
At this point, the weight of the world should be coming down on the shoulders of this man, who thinks that Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam treachery should be anyone’s source of inspiration. Just like the communities of color (including all the hues in the rainbow) came after Drew Brees for saying that he would never disrespect the American Flag (the nerve!) so should those same pearl clutchers take a hold of their freshwater gems once more and condemn Jackson.
But while there has been some criticism, it has hardly reached the crescendos that accompany any perceived offense against communities of color. And that is why I’m angry.
If you look at the history of persecution, Jews have suffered as much as any defined demographic. I would venture to say that they have suffered more. They were slaves. They were stripped of their legal rights, their land, their names, their legitimate patrimonies. They were turned into refugees. They were rounded up into camps and systematically murdered. So I don’t think I am alone in writing, in large letters, JEWISH LIVES MATTER.
But each time someone like Jackson reposts some fabricated filth, that principle gets lost in the muck of bigotry. More importantly, if it is not condemned with the same power and passion as we condemn the attacks on our brothers and sisters of color, we are condoning it by implication.
Most Black people understand this. Most white people understand this. Most good people, who don’t need to look in the mirror and check out their skin color before having an opinion understand this. Jackson trafficked in the same crude and hateful rhetoric as those who drop the “N” word into casual conversation. He needs to be held accountable for it.
In 1964, two young Jewish men named Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner went down south to Philadelphia, Miss., to show how much they believed Black lives mattered. Because of their commitment and in spite of their courage, they ended up in a ditch, beside their Black companion James Chaney. Black and Jewish lives have been intertwined in the struggle for dignity and justice.
DeSean Jackson needs to learn his history. Maybe he can study it while on the bench this season, wearing his Jewish Lives Matter special edition jersey.
Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.