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Earlier this week, DeSean Jackson shared several anti-semitic posts on Instagram, including a post erroneously attributed to Adolf Hitler about Jews dividing black people, and a couple entries praising decades-long anti-semite Louis Farrakhan. To his credit, Jackson twice apologized for this and has accepted an invitation to attend a Holocaust memorial in Philadelphia to better educate himself on the matter.
Stephen Jackson, however, defended DeSean’s initial posts and said he was right. The explanation was unwieldy and nonsensical, and carried with it the implication that invoking Hitler and anti-Jewish remarks attributed to him was fine.
Today, Stephen Jackson went on Instagram Live; while he did clear up some misunderstandings, he nevertheless doubled down on dangerous Jewish stereotypes:
Jackson had a Jewish co-host on this Instagram Live who persistently tried to make him realize why the stereotypes of Jewish wealth and power — not to mention Hitler — were dangerous. For thousands of years, these stereotypes have been precursors to expulsion and/or slaughter of Jewish people. The dog whistles are ear-piercing.
One thing that Stephen Jackson kind of cleared up was that his initial defense of DeSean Jackson was not about the actual Hitler or Farrakhan posts, but the idea that he was being treated unfairly in comparison to Riley Cooper. There’s been talk of cutting Jackson — who is 33 years old and caught nine passes last season — while Cooper signed an extension. (Side note: I don’t believe DeSean Jackson ever publicly compared himself and his backlash to Cooper. Whether Stephen Jackson was referring to a private grievance or what someone else said is unclear.)
However, where Stephen Jackson repeatedly revealed his ignorance was in a combination of invoking the stereotypes of Jewish wealth and power, and saying that Jewish NFL owners have been silent about George Floyd and police violence. It’s fundamentally untrue. Statements were issued by the Kraft family, Mark Davis, and Jeffrey Lurie. The Buccaneers, who are owned by the Glazer family, issued a statement as a team. So did the Giants who are co-owned by Steve Tisch. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf announced he was donating $5 million to social justice causes. Nearly every Jewish NFL owner did say something.
While the co-host did finally get Jackson to repudiate Hitler, in almost the next breath Jackson returned to a point about the Rothschilds owning all the banks. The family has been the subject of widespread conspiracy theories that spread on YouTube. Jackson said he has many Jewish friends.
I’ve reached out to Showtime for comment — Jackson is the co-host of their All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes — and we will update the story if we hear back. As a Jewish person who has been to the Auschwitz concentration camp, I don’t want Jackson to be fired. It wouldn’t accomplish anything positive and in fact would probably cause more resentment from Jackson and the fans whose thoughts he influences.
However, I do hope that he can seek out similar education to what DeSean Jackson is doing because his beliefs about the Jewish community are dangerously misinformed.