Famed sportswriter and author Mitch Albom slammed the ‘tepid’ response to the anti-Semitic posts made by Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
“These days, you can lose your job for a tweet. You can lose it for a retweet, or a spouse’s tweet. If your message is considered racist or hateful, it can bring an onslaught of condemnation, followed swiftly by an erasure of your reputation and your career,” Albom began a column on Sunday in the Detroit Free Press. “So it might seem surprising that after NFL star DeSean Jackson posted several anti-Semitic messages on Instagram last weekend — including a quote he (wrongly) attributed to Adolf Hitler claiming Jews ‘will extort America’ and ‘have a plan for world domination’ — there was no mass outrage from his industry, and no immediate punishment from his team.”
Albom slammed the Eagles for its gentle and delayed punishment of Jackson, which was an “undisclosed fine,” as well as the defense Jackson received from other athletes like former NBA player Stephen Jackson and New Orleans Saints player Malcolm Jenkins, who dismissed the controversy as a “distraction.”
“The reason Jewish people aren’t surprised by hateful comments is because anti-Semitism is the oldest form of bigotry in the world,” Albom wrote. “It dates back to biblical times and has never had a pause.”
The columnist then summed of centuries of hatred Jewish people have faced from being enslaved in Egypt and being massacred during the Crusades, to the six million that were killed during the Holocaust.
“The truth of Jackson’s wrist slap is likely this: Anti-Semitism doesn’t cause the same fury as other prejudices. There is rarely as loud or sustained an outcry when a synagogue is attacked or a Jewish person is killed for his faith. Or the entire Jewish population is slandered,” Albom wrote. “This was reflected in the tepid reaction to DeSean Jackson, and in Jenkins’ statements that ‘Jewish people aren’t our problem’ and ‘Let’s not lose focus on what the problem truly is…’ No, Malcolm, this is what the problem ‘truly is.’ Intolerance. Stereotyping. Repeating others’ hate-filled rhetoric. It’s all wrapped together, and if you go ballistic on one, you should go ballistic on the other, especially when it’s within your own industry.”
He continued, “‘Silence is compliance.’ That’s a popular sentence today. But you can’t be selective with your noise. Not against hate. For all the bigoted garbage stirred up against Jews last week, it was disturbingly quiet out there. We should think twice about why that is.”
Jackson drew heavy criticism over his Instagram posts that praised Louis Farrakhan, who has made a number of anti-Semitic comments over the years, and shared a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler. Jackson has since apologized.