Former NBA player Stephen Jackson defended DeSean Jackson on Tuesday night, saying the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver was “speaking the truth” with his controversial social media posts, including an anti-Semitic message that he attributed to Adolf Hitler.
The Eagles called DeSean Jackson’s posts “offensive, harmful and absolutely appalling,” and the wide receiver later issued two separate statements of apology with “a promise to do better.”
“So I just read a statement that the Philadelphia Eagles posted regarding DeSean Jackson’s comments. He was trying to educate himself, educate people, and he’s speaking the truth. Right? He’s speaking the truth. You know he don’t hate nobody, but he’s speaking the truth of the facts that he knows and trying to educate others,” Stephen Jackson said in a video posted on Instagram.
“But y’all don’t want us to educate ourselves. If it’s talking about the Black race, y’all ain’t saying nothing about it. They killing us, police killing us and treating us like s—, racism at an all-time high, but ain’t none of you NFL owners spoke up on that, ain’t none of you teams spoke up on that. But the same team had a receiver [Riley Cooper] who said the word n—– publicly! They gave him an extension! I play for the Big3. We have a Jewish owner. He understands where we stand and some of the things we say, but it’s not directed to him. It’s the way we’ve been treated.”
He later deleted the video but appeared to respond to backlash he received with another post:
Cooper, a former Eagles wide receiver who is white, shouted a racial slur at Black security guard at a Kenny Chesney concert in 2013. Cooper later apologized to his teammates and was signed to a five-year extension by the Eagles in 2014. He was released by the team in 2016.
Stephen Jackson, who retired from the NBA in 2014 after playing 14 seasons and winning a championship with San Antonio in 2003, has been a voice for social activism since the death of his friend George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day. Jackson is a former NBA analyst for ESPN.
DeSean Jackson spoke with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman — who both are Jewish — on Tuesday, a source told ESPN’s Tim McManus, with Lurie expressing deep disappointment about the social media posts. Jackson expressed a desire to educate himself and work directly with the Jewish community, and a short time later, his camp contacted the rabbi at Chabad Young Philly to discuss ways for Jackson to donate to and work with the organization.
The controversy spun out of Jackson’s Instagram story, on which he featured a quote he attributed to Hitler that said white Jews “will blackmail America. [They] will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were.”
He also shared two posts on Instagram — on Saturday and on Monday — expressing admiration for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whom the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have identified as anti-Semitic. Those posts have since been deleted.
On Tuesday, Jackson posted an apology on Instagram, saying he “really didn’t realize what this passage [attributed to Hitler] was saying” and that he is “sorry for any hurt I have caused.”
He posted an additional apology to his social media accounts after meeting with Lurie, saying “this apology is more than just words — it is a promise to do better.”
The Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia on Tuesday said it appreciated his apology and said it was the organization’s “hope he uses this moment as a chance to work with the Jewish community and educate himself further on how dangerous and hurtful antisemitism is.”
Stephen Jackson played in the Big3 in 2018 and ’19. The league canceled its 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.