One of the NFL’s few Jewish players has offered to take Desean Jackson to a very special place, to show him the kind of terrible results rampant antisemitism can produce.
Julian Edelman, a wide receiver for the Patriots who is also Jewish, posted a video to social media sharing his thoughts on Eagles receiver Desean Jackson’s decision to post anti-Semitic quotes on Instagram over the 4th of July weekend.
“I’ve been getting hit up by everyone asking me about this DeSean Jackson post, and I wanted to take some time before I responded because it’s a complicated issue, and I wanted to be thoughtful,” Edelman said. “I wrote down some of my thinking.
“I’ve seen DeSean play in his career, make outstanding football plays. We’ve communicated over social media. I’ve got nothing but respect for his game. I know he said some ugly things, but I do see an opportunity to have a conversation.”
Edelman believes that there are points of commonality between blacks and people of the Jewish faith.
“I think the black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities,” Edelman explains. “One unfortunate similarity is that they are both attacked by the ignorant and the hateful.”
As for Edelman’s plan for Jackson, he believes it starts with listening.
“We need to listen, we need to learn, we need to act,” Edelman said. “We need to have those uncomfortable conversations, if we’re gonna have real change. So to that end, DeSean, let’s do a deal. How ’bout we go to D.C. and I take you to the Holocaust Museum, and then you take me to the Museum of African-American History and Culture. Afterward, we grab some burgers, and we have those uncomfortable conversations.
“For me it’s not just about religion, it’s about community and culture as well,” Edelman says. “I’m unusual, because I didn’t identify as Jewish until later in my life. Whenever I encountered hatred, it never really felt like it was aimed at me. It was only after I was part of this community that I learned how destructive hate is. Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred. It’s rooted in ignorance and fear.”
Jackson has spoken with Jewish leaders in Philadelphia in an attempt to make amends. The Eagles have promised to take “appropriate action” against the receiver.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn