New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins called concerns about antisemitism, raised in light of one player’s recent comments, a “distraction” from the Black Lives Matter movement. Jenkins’ claim comes one month after he spoke out against Drew Brees, who said he didn’t support disrespecting the American flag.
The NFL’s conversation about antisemitism began this week, after Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted two Instagram stories and two posts, with one containing antisemitic quotes attributed to Adolf Hitler, and the others promoting the racist Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who’s known for using anti-Jewish slurs.
“Because the white Jews knows that the Negroes are the real Children of Israel and to keep Americas secret the [white Jews] will blackmail America,” Jackson wrote in his Instagram story on Monday. “[They] will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were…The white citizens of America will be terrified to know that all this time they’ve been mistreating and discriminating and lynching the Children of Israel.”
Following DeSean’s actions, the Eagles issued a statement Tuesday saying his words were offensive and unacceptable. The Eagles noted they had “reiterated to DeSean the importance of not only apologizing, but also using his platform to take action to promote unity, equality, and respect.”
Additionally, the team announced plans to determine an appropriate course of action, but so far haven’t made any statements regarding Jackson’s status. They’re “committed to continuing to have productive and meaningful conversations with DeSean,” according to the statement.
Jenkins is now attempting to suppress the conversation surrounding Jackson’s actions, claiming it takes away from the Black Lives Matter movement. To an Instagram following of 495,000, he spread the confusing message that “Jewish people aren’t our problem, and we aren’t their problem.”
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We can honor the Jewish heritage and trauma while staying focused on what matters. Jewish people aren’t our problem, and we aren’t their problem. Let’s not lose focus on what the problem truly is, and that’s that black lives still don’t matter in this country. Push this energy toward arresting and convicting the killers of Breonna Taylor and burning systemic racism to the ground. ✊🏿
Earlier in June, the NFL was rocked by comments made by another high-profile player. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees said that he disagrees with those who disrespect the American flag, and Jenkins posted numerous videos to his Instagram stories and posts in response, including one in which he told Brees to “shut the f-ck up.” Brees ultimately apologized and the NFL released a statement concerning the incident.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell used the league’s Twitter feed to release a video saying, “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter.”
The NFL acted swiftly with Brees but has still failed to come down strong on Jackson. Jack Elbaum wrote about the discrepancy between the NFL’s reactions so far in an article titled, “Is anti-semitism the only uncancellable offense?”
“There has been virtually no response from those within the NFL community. If Brees’ comments regarding the national anthem were worthy of comment from teammates and fellow-players, worthy of condemnation on national sports talk-shows which garner millions of views on YouTube and worthy of outrage from LeBron James, why is this somehow less egregious — and therefore deserving of less media coverage?”
Many Twitter users have questioned whether the NFL will treat Jackson similarly to Brees for his much lighter comment. It is clear, however, that Jenkins and the NFL believe the two should have much different treatment.