It’s a weird time to be alive. 2020 has been anything but normal and it doesn’t feel like it’ll get much better in the coming months.
DeSean Jackson is the latest athlete to contribute to the unbelievable nature of 2020, posting quotes from Adolf Hitler on his Instagram that expressed obvious anti-Semitic language.
There’s no justification for what DeSean posted. None. And his first apology was so disingenuous that he had to issue a second apology that stated he would continue to educate himself in order to understand why what he posted was so wrong.
I do believe his post came from a place of ignorance, not a place of hate. I don’t believe DeSean is anti-Semitic at all, I honestly just think he’s confused and not fully educated on this stuff.
I can go on about why it’s wrong and why Jackson shouldn’t have posted it. But we already know that, and honestly, his ignorance and half-hearted apology isn’t the most alarming aspect of this whole situation.
The silence we’ve seen from some of his teammates and players around the league speaks volumes.
People have continually brought up the Riley Cooper situation, pointing out how the team handed him an extension shortly after he dropped the hard-R at a country music concert. I totally agree that he should have been cut from the team, there’s no excuse for that. But let’s not play this game of whataboutisms and let’s just stick with the present time.
Hate is hate and it should be denounced whenever it creeps up. What DeSean posted bordered on hate speech to an entire religion/ethnicity, and the fact that none of his teammates have spoken up is pretty alarming. Even if they stood up and said something along the lines of, “we support DeSean and will continue to have discussions with him regarding his comments,” that would have been nice to see. But we’ve seen nothing, from anyone.
We have seen some notable athletes actually praise DeSean for what he said. Stephen Jackson, Kevin Durant and J.R. Smith all stood up for the receiver, and that is just as alarming in my eyes.
Here’s Stephen Jackson’s response to the criticism DeSean received after his IG posts:
Is he wrong that the NFL was silent for years about racism and police brutality? No, he’s right about that. Is he wrong for saying DeSean was just “speaking the truth” and “trying to educate himself and educate others?” Yes, he’s wrong about that.
Re-posting propaganda from Nazi Germany is not educating the public and DeSean shouldn’t be using Hitler’s writings to educate himself. I mean, how the fuck can you even believe that and say it with a straight face?
If figures like Stephen Jackson or other prominent activist voices want people to take racism seriously, they have to condemn all forms of it. Not just racism against their own people.
Stephen Jackson was very vocal when Drew Brees said that he believed kneeling for the anthem was disrespectful, as did the majority of Black NFL players. But when it’s aimed at another group, whether it’s intentional or not, it’s “speaking the truth?” How does one come to that kind of conclusion?
I understand that DeSean was trying to point out the section of the quote about how Black people are the true children of Israel, but nevertheless, those words came from the mouth of one of the most despicable humans in our history. Although some believe the quote isn’t actually from Hitler, that doesn’t change the racist nature of the writing.
I’m not trying to defend Brees either, because what he said was insensitive and tone deaf as well. All I’m saying is, to defeat hate and racism, the energy must be the same against all forms of it and whomever its target is. Condemning Brees while defending DeSean is not progress, it’s just hypocritical.
In a way, I’m not surprised by the lack of response to DeSean’s post. I do think he knows he was wrong for posting it, he looked utterly embarrassed in his apology video.
I’ve found myself saying, “what the fuck is going on,” a lot this year. This is just another one of those instances, and I’m sure there will be several more before 2020 is over.