July 9 (UPI) — Kansas City Chiefs veteran Mitchell Schwartz said he hopes anti-Semitic social media posts from the Philadelphia Eagles’ DeSean Jackson bring awareness to “hate” the Jewish community faces.
Jackson on Monday posted an image of a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler. He posted additional messages supporting Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has been identified as anti-Semitic and homophobic by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center.
Jackson has since apologized for the posts and plans to tour the Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza in Philadelphia. He still faces potential discipline from the Eagles and his actions have been condemned by the NFL.
“As a Jewish American in the NFL, I stand with my brothers of all races and creeds against any form of discrimination and hate,” Schwartz wrote Wednesday on social media.
“One of the things that makes our game so great is the diverse background of the guys in the locker room, not just from a racial standpoint but a religious one as well. Although in my personal experience my teammates have always been supportive and interested in my faith, anti-Semitism is on the rise in this country. Tragedy after tragedy, the number of hate crimes against Jews has reached record levels in the past few years.”
Schwartz, 31, is one of the first active NFL players to speak publicly about Jackson’s posts. Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner on Wednesday also spoke out about the posts in a video he posted to social media.
Sports analyst Emmanuel Acho — a former teammate of Jackson’s — and former Eagles president Joe Banner also have addressed the posts. Banner advocated for the Eagles to consider Jackson’s release.
“My hope is we can use this moment to shed light on and bring awareness to the hate and oppression the Jewish community still faces while standing strong with the Black Lives Matter movement,” Schwartz wrote.
“We can only have change if we denounce racism and bias in all its forms. Our platforms as athletes are a powerful tool, and with them comes immense responsibility. We can all do better.”
Schwartz entered the NFL as a second-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL Draft. He joined the Chiefs in 2016. The 2018 Pro Bowl selection has never missed a game during his NFL career, with 128 consecutive starts through eight seasons.
This video is to transition from the incident, and move forward as a community. Not to harp on @DeSeanJackson10 mistake, but to progress by educating ourselves. We can’t move forward while allowing ourselves to leave another minority race in the dark.#Equality pic.twitter.com/MnLnCCYzQL
— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) July 8, 2020
Jackson is a 12-year veteran. The second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft had nine catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns in three starts last season for the Eagles while limited due to an abdominal injury. Jackson, 33, is signed through 2021, but the Eagles could consider his release before then after the incident.