Why are NFL players silent on DeSean Jackson?

9 July 2020

2:11 AM

9 July 2020

2:11 AM

In early June, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints refused to take a knee because he didn’t want to insult the flag. Black NFL players lined up to denounce him.

‘Ignorant,’ said his black teammate Emmanuel Sanders.

‘Drew’s words were extremely painful to hear,’ another black Saint, Malcolm Jenkins said, ‘and I hope he rectifies them with real action.’

‘If you don’t speak about racism, then you’re a part of the problem,’ said A.J. Brown of the Tennessee Titans.

A month later, in early July, DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles posted on Instagram an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory attributed to the noted sports fan Adolf Hitler. None of Jackson’s NFL peers, black or white, has said a word. Colin Kaepernick, who is usually so vocal about racism, has been uncharacteristically silent. The New York Times, usually so quick to denounce imaginary offenses against the speech-code mania of the day, said nothing at all. The leaders of Black Lives Matter didn’t order their minions to add this outburst of racism to their to-do list either.

From which we conclude that Jackson’s knee-taking peers in the locker room, the icons of BLM and the gatekeepers of the ‘paper of record’ either agree with him, or think it’s not a big deal, or think that black racism toward Jews should be overlooked in the name of the greater cause of ‘anti-racism’. In a way, it doesn’t really matter which. Any society that establishes any of these beliefs as acceptable – ‘normalized’ as the guardians of speech now say – is heading to perdition.

Jackson posted an image showing this highlighted newspaper clipping, heavy on grammar errors and paranoid delusions:

DeSean Jackson's Instagram story

DeSean Jackson’s bizarre Instagram story

This clipping is cribbed from The Hidden Treasure That Lies in Plain Sight: The Day of the Lord and the End of America by Jeremy Shorter, foreword by ‘Adolf Hitler, A German Politician’. The last in a four-volume series, it was published by Author House of Bloomington, Indiana between 2014 and 2018. All four volumes are currently available on Amazon in various formats. Thank you, Jeff Bezos, An American Businessman.

Mr Shorter seems to be a Black Hebrew Israelite. This sect believe that they, not the Jews, are the real Jews. In 2019, Black Hebrew Israelite propaganda was linked to domestic terrorism: the killing of a policeman and shoppers at a Jersey City kosher market by a couple who had cited Black Hebrew Israelite ideas, and the stabbing of Jews in Florida by a self-professed Black Hebrew Israelite. Apart from inciting against Jews, the Black Hebrew Israelites have links to the ‘sovereign citizen’ movement, which incites attacks against the police.

DeSean Jackson knows nothing of this. DeSean Jackson seems to know very little. His initial response when a few of the ever-so-touchy fake Jews complained was that they were the problem: ‘Anyone who feels I have hate towards the Jewish community took my post the wrong way. I have no hatred in my heart towards no one!!’

Only when Jackson’s employers explained to him the enormity of his foolishness did he apologize. ‘I really didn’t realize what this passage was saying,’ he said. I believe him. He is ill-educated. Black or white, racists exploit ignorance and resentment along with genuine if ill-formed awareness of historical suffering and present unfairness. The racism of black nationalists, whether Black Hebrew Israelites or Louis Farrakhan ( a recent recipient of the DeSean Jackson seal of approval), is predicated on the collapse of public education.

‘He was trying to educate people, educate himself, and he’s speaking the truth. Right?,’ the ex-NBA player Stephen Jackson said while DeSean Jackson was working up his apology. ‘He’s speaking the truth. He don’t hate nobody but he’s speaking the truth of what he knows and trying to educate others. But y’all don’t want him to educate ourselves.’

NBA Jackson’s defense of NFL Jackson suggests that it’s not only football players who risk brain injury. It also confirms that if we don’t teach people what to stand for, they’ll fall for anything. They might even use their celebrity to ‘educate’ others in hatred and tin-hatter conspiracy theories about ‘fake Jews’ and the Illuminati – conspiracy theories with a proven capacity to incite violence.

‘I post things on my story all the time,’ Jackson explained, ‘and just probably never should have posted anything that Hitler did, because Hitler was a bad person, and I know that. I was just trying to uplift African-Americans, and slavery, and just enlighten my people.’

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That ‘probably’ raises the possibility that Jackson may yet share his thoughts on how the upside of Nazism might ‘uplift African Americans’ and perhaps even enlighten all Americans – banning smoking, encouraging exercise, eating more vegetables, fixing the roads…

…but at least he’s trying – and talking. The silence of Jackson’s colleagues and of much of the media speaks volumes: a volume on ignorance; a volume on hypocrisy in the media and the locker room; a volume on moral cowardice on the left of the Democratic party, whose leadership pander to radical black voices who don’t represent the majority of black opinion; a volume on how big money corrupts sports along with sportsmen; and, in this open season of racialized belligerence, a volume on how the mere suspicion of one kind of racism is enough to end a career, while the explicit stating of another kind of racism really isn’t a problem at all.

Still, I don’t think Jackson should be kicked out of the NFL or suspended by the Eagles. People are free to say dumb things, especially when they are ignorant. Jackson has made a ‘promise to do better’ and learn about the Nazi horrors. I hope that the next time something like this happens, he will be the one to break the silence. But then, why would he, when his fellow black players are silent and the guardians of racial morality look the other way?

Dominic Green is Life & Arts editor of The Spectator (US)

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