by Matt Rosenthal ’22
DeSean Jackson, the former Pro-Bowl wide receiver and Philadelphia Eagles legend, has been in the headlines recently for using a quote that Jackson incorrectly believes was stated by Adolf Hitler. While this alone is despicable, the reaction to Jackson’s comments has been unbelievably muted and nearly non-existent. Only a handful of his peers have denounced his words, which have otherwise gone unnoticed. Jackson’s employer, the Philadelphia Eagles, have only announced that they will fine him for his statements. There is still one glaring question from this whole fiasco: should we cancel DeSean Jackson?
In order to get a more detailed answer, we must take a look into the background of anti-Semitism in sports.
Anti-Semitism is the act of hostility or predejudce towards Jewish people. Anti-Semitism has been around for centuies. From the middle ages when the Italians sectioned Jewish people off into their own ghettoes, to the Holocaust. It is still prevalent today with groups like the KKK, and well people like DeSean Jackson.
Three NFL players denounced Jackson: Steelers lineman Zach Banner, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, and Chiefs lineman Mitchel Schwartz. Banner is of Chamorro and African-American descent, and he is from the state of Washington. Edelman is half-Jewish and grew up south of San Francisco. Schwartz is Jewish and from outside of L.A. He was briefly teammates with Jackson at Cal-Berkeley.
Banner stated how the Jewish people have had the same amount of hardships as Black people. Edelman invited Jackson to tour the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. with him so he can show Jackson the suffering the Jewish people have had over the years. Schwartz posted a message on his Twitter how “Anti-Semitism is on the rise in this country,” as well as that he wants to bring awareness to the hardships the Jewish people have gone through.
The most questionable part of this controversy is the lack of cancelation from the Internet. When Drew Brees made his uneducated and tone deaf statement about kneeling for the Anthem, the Internet was quick to “cancel” him. His Saints teammates were upset with him at first. However, they have changed their stance and were willing to educate Brees on the issues that Black people go through in America and why kneeling for the National Anthem is not about disrespecting the flag.
Jackson has received little backlash for posting an anti-Semetic quote to his Instagram. There are a few reasons why Jackson has not been punished the way he should have been. It could be due to people being uneducated on anti-Semitism, or the recent muder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter being thrusted into the spotlight.
But to answer the question, yes. DeSean Jackson should most definitely be canceled and released from the Eagles immediately. Making an anti-Semietic comment in 2020 is unacceptable, and he needs to be punished immediately.