DeSean Jackson, wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, stoked plenty of deserved outrage over the weekend when he posted a series of anti-semitic quotes, allegedly attributed to Hitler no less, on Instagram.
On Tuesday, both Jackson and the Eagles organization released statements apologizing for the incident, according to the New York Times. “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!” Jackson wrote. Jackson also released a video to his Instagram account apologizing for the posts.
The Eagles called the posts “offensive, harmful and absolutely appalling,” in their statement. “They have no place in our society, and are not condoned or supported in any way by the organization. We reiterated to DeSean the importance of not only apologizing but also using his platform to take action to promote unity, equality and respect,” the statement added.
The NFL also released a statement on the matter 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.”
Over the Fourth of July holiday, Jackson posted a picture to his Instagram stories where a quote attributed to Hitler is highlighted in a book. According to the Philly Voice, the quote says that “white Jews” have a plan to “blackmail America. “The[y] will extort America, their plan or world domination won’t work if the Negroes knew who they were.”
While fact checkers have debunked that the quote was attributed to Hitler, it’s never a good look to post anything that might suggest you agree with him in any type of fashion. Jackson also shared posts praising Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has been labeled as anti-Semitic by both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. While initially defensive and claiming that people “took my post the wrong way,” Jackson has since deleted all the posts.
It is unclear whether or not Jackson will face disciplinary action for the posts though some fans have already begun to point out the way the Eagles handled a similar situation with former player Riley Cooper. In 2013, a video was released showing Cooper, a white player, calling a Black security guard the n-word at a concert. Cooper received a fine, issued an apology and was granted a five-year contract after a brief leave of absence to seek counseling.
That was seven years ago, though, and lately the NFL has been under increased scrutiny for the way it has handled issues regarding race relations. Last week, after Nike and FedEx announced they would back away from sponsoring the team, the Washington Redskins announced it would conduct a review of its name. Over the weekend, the NFL announced it would play the Black national anthem during every game of week 1, which, uh, is a gesture I guess?
Hopefully, Jackson learns from this situation and is a bit more thoughtful about what he posts on the internet. If you’re sincerely trying to advocate for equality, don’t post a quote from Hitler, fake or not.