This is a hard topic to tackle, especially these days. I hesitated quite a lot before deciding to give my opinion about this issue.
On Friday, the Philadelphia Eagles penalized DeSean Jackson for conduct detrimental to the team. But how should the team really handle Jackson?
After his infamous social media posts last week with an image of a book page that included anti-Semitic quotes falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, the evil dictator of the twentieth century, the team has quickly taken some “light” actions against their player.
“This has been a difficult and emotional week for our community and organization,” the team said in the statement. “The Philadelphia Eagles do not tolerate hate towards any individual or group. We believe in respect and equality for all races, ethnicities, and faiths. We as an organization want to help be an instrument for positive change. This can only occur through strong, deliberate actions and a commitment to learn and grow.”
DeSean Jackson’s anti-Semitic posts could be a pivotal and critical teaching moment in the league. But there needs to be a sanction.
Many Jewish players such as Mitch Schwartz from the Chiefs or Julian Edelman, the Patriots star expressed themselves after the backlash against Jackson on Twitter. The latter even had a long discussion with Jackson and invited him to the Washington DC Holocaust museum.
Since then, DeSean Jackson apologized for his posts saying he had no hatred in his heart towards no-one.
The Eagles front office took action in educating Jackson and many other players on the matter. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman — both of whom are Jewish – expressed their disappointment. Is it enough? I don’t think so.
Nothing should distract on how the recent anti-racism and Black Lives Matter movements are doing right now, however public personalities such as NFL players should really consider the posts they are putting out there. Many children look up to them. And those posts have no place in this society, especially during this very special time, when we try to all agree on condemning racist acts.
The Eagles declared: “We must continue to fight against anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination, while not losing sight of the important battle against systemic racism. We have discussed a concrete plan for how we and he can heal moving forward. He understands that in order to remain on the team, he must also commit to supporting his words with actions. We have been encouraged by his desire to educate himself, but we all understand that there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Jackson will pay a fine and donate a significant amount to the Jewish community. Jackson also met with a Philadelphia rabbi to work with the organization and met with Holocaust survivor Edward Mosberg.
It could be an issue of misinformation, lack of education or even ignorance. However, I honestly think the sanction should be a lot more important. The Philadelphia Eagles have not talked about any suspension yet, and maybe they won’t have the courage to do it. However, players have taken heavier suspensions for Marijuana abuse and besides Jackson is far from being stupid, he went to university and definitely knows who Hitler is and what he represents in the world. I don’t want to affirm he is a racist, as he deserves the benefit of the doubt but such a post cannot remain unpunished.
So there you go, a probably forced apology, a quick visit to the Philly Jewish community, a fine he will not have trouble paying, and we will see him again this fall. Every action triggers a consequence, whether it is positive or negative, that is what we teach our kids. We all need to be coherent and apply these rules in the society even if a heavier punishment could deeply hurt the Philadelphia Eagles this season.