Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker and broadcaster Ben Leber recently pointed to a double standard he sees among players and NFL leaders alike.
The South Dakota-bred broadcaster took to Twitter to address his disappointment in players, arguing that Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Desean Jackson’s anti-Semitic posts have not received the same backlash and response that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees faced.
“Is ‘silence is compliance’ still a thing?? Have lot of quiet players out there,” Leber wrote. The response from players hasn’t nearly had the same gravity, given Brees’ comments did come in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the social outrage that followed.
Leber played for the Vikings from 2006 to 2010 and worked out briefly with the Eagles.
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Desean Jackson Apologizes, Says Message Was Misinterpreted
Last Tuesday, Jackson posted a passage from a book that included quotes from Hitler that said “the Jews will blackmail America” and “Negroes are the real Children of Israel.” the quotes happened to be fabricated, Snopes reported.
He also shared several posts in support of Louis Farrakhan, a polarizing political leader who described Hitler as a “very great man.”
Jackson apologized on ESPN, saying:
I never want to put any race down or any people down. My post was definitely not intended for anybody of any race to feel a type of way, especially the Jewish community… I didn’t mean it to the extent you guys took it and… I’m very apologetic and want you guys to understand it was never intended to put any race down or any religion down.
I was just trying to uplift African-Americans and… enlighten my people. I didn’t intend any harm or hatred towards any people. I’m for one I’m for love…
Professional Athlete Responses
Some players and former NFLers have responded to Jackson.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman issued a challenge to Jackson. Edelman, who announced he is Jewish in 2012, said he has “nothing but respect” for Jackson as a football player, and suggested the two take a road trip to the country’s capital, making stops at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture and the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Zach Banner posted a video to his Twitter on Wednesday to help Jackson move forward from his mistake. Banner was signed to the Steelers the same year of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.
Former NBA star Stephen Jackson, a friend of George Floyd, offered his support of Desean Jackson, saying he was “speaking the truth.” Stephen Jackson later said he used the “wrong words” in Desean Jackson’s defense.
The Eagles have yet to discipline Desean Jackson. What the franchise chooses to due will be met with scrutiny after wide receiver Riley Cooper was fined for using racial slurs in 2013 and later signed to a five-year contract extension a year later.
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