Today’s topic is hypocrisy, and our shared reaction to hate.
Today’s subject is DeSean Jackson, an admirer of Louis Farrakhan, and a disseminator of faux Hitler anti-Semitic garbage the wide receiver posted on Instagram.
First, Farrakhan. He is well-known as anti-Semite, anti-white, anti-gay. The Anti Defamation League suggests he might be “America’s most popular anti-Semite.”
Quite the achievement.
And yet many Democratic officials over the years have not shied away from meeting or socializing with him, normalizing him. Farrakhan was a guest at a 2005 meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus, also attended by then-Sen. Barack Obama.
Just imagine the outcry if a Republican had met with David Duke or some neo Nazi leader who had called Judaism a “gutter religion,” as Farrakhan had. (Farrakhan later denied using the phrase, but there is a recording of his sermon.)
God knows where Jackson dredged up these moronic quotes, which seem to come from Hitler, but did not.
When the spit hit the fan, Jackson lamely apologized to anyone who “took my post the wrong way.”
There was a right way?
Because I believe that free speech includes even hate speech, I don’t think Jackson should have been fired. I don’t believe the Central Park dog-walker who falsely accused an innocent African-American bird watcher should have been fired. She should have been prosecuted for filing a false police report, and is.
Having hate in your heart is not a crime. Racism is not a crime. Anti-Semitism is not a crime. Homophobia is not a crime.
They are beliefs, they are bad, but they are not prohibited unless you try to weaponize them to harm another. That’s when they become a crime.
So Jackson’s stupid online remarks got out, and the Eagles were a splatter victim. The team issued a pasty, non-specific statement of regret and said Jackson would be punished. It didn’t say how, but it is believed Jackson would get fined as former Eagle Riley Cooper got fined and sent to reeducation camp after dropping the N-word at a concert.
That seems fair to me, but not to Inquirer sports writer Marcus Hayes.
“It is the same penalty they levied on Riley Cooper in 2013… That was a copout then: Cooper should have been suspended at least two games. It is a copout now.”
I don’t agree with Hayes on that point, but I do on the next.
“Former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, the eloquent voice of outrage for three years, stayed silent far too long, then, finally, offered no more than a shrug at the pain Jackson caused.”
Jenkins called it a “distraction.”
His reaction to religious hate seems quite mild compared to race hate. I ask why.
A couple of NFL players came to Jackson’s defense, making it seem like “a black man” was the victim of some kind of conspiracy. There was no mass condemnation of Jackson’s remarks, as there was of Saints quarterback Drew Brees when he opposed taking a knee during the National Anthem.
I also wonder about the deafening silence from the members of the Eagles football team. Cat got your tongue, boys? This is the hypocrisy I mentioned at the outset.
By word and deed, anti-Semitism carries less condemnation than other hate. You have to wonder why.
One player with a voice, New England All-Star wideout Julian Edelman, reached out for Jackson in a warm, welcoming way, with an offer of education and burgers. Over the weekend, Edelman said they had spoken.
Edelman came to realize his Jewish identity later in life, he said, and offered to visit the U.S. Holocaust Museum and then the African-American History Museum in D.C. with Jackson.
Good idea. Here’s another: Ask DeSean Jackson to Google the names Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. Ask him to share the results with Farrakhan.