Over the weekend, Philadelphia Eagles’ receiver DeSean Jackson posted a photo of a quote purportedly from Adolf Hitler (as per 2017 Snopes research, it’s not actually from Hitler, or from the 1980 Robert Edwin Herstein book it claims to be from), which included “The white Jews knows that the Negroes are the real children of Israel and to keep the Americas secret the Jews will blackmail America. The will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were.” Here’s a screenshot of the full quote he initially shared:
Jackson immediately took criticism for sharing that anti-Semitic quote. He then posted it again Monday with only “The will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were” not blacked out and claimed it wasn’t hateful. And he apologized for that Tuesday after a ton of criticism. But even amidst that criticism, he received an unusual defense. That defense came from Stephen Jackson, a former NBA player, former ESPN analyst, current Showtime Basketball video podcast host, and current BIG3 player. He shared an Instagram post in support of DeSean Jackson Tuesday; that post has since been deleted, but the video is preserved here:
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson responds to Desean Jackson’s Hitler post by saying it’s “truth” pic.twitter.com/Web0y3bhoQ
— Conspiracy Libel (@ConspiracyLibel) July 7, 2020
A transcription of what he said there:
“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. 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 us. They killing us, police killing us and treating us like shit, 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 who said the word n***er publicly! They gave him an extension!”
And here’s the caption that Jackson posted to Instagram with that video:
On Tuesday night, after initial backlash, Jackson continued to defend his remarks:
Stephen Jackson doubling down on defending DeSean Jackson’s Hitler comments??? Nah that just isn’t right at all. No one is trying to compare their “races pain”.
The Jewish people are ALLIES in the fight against racism.
This is dangerous rhetoric from Jackson. pic.twitter.com/ESHJWkE5PO
— Fin (@jessefinver) July 8, 2020
And on Wednesday, Stephen Jackson continued with his comments on this, and threw in a “The Rothschilds own all the banks” for good measure:
Person he’s on w: "The point is, you did not just say to me that Jews are not trying to divide the black community."
Jackson: "You know that for a fact? … You know who the Rothschilds are? They own all the banks.”
Jackson then said, “I haven’t said one thing that’s untrue yet"
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) July 8, 2020
Here’s video of that:
— Gifdsports (@gifdsports) July 8, 2020
Update: Showtime put out a statement on Jackson Wednesday night:
Showtime statement on Stephen Jackson pic.twitter.com/tTWgH2a4D3
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) July 8, 2020
The most controversial part of what Stephen Jackson said Tuesday was obviously “he’s speaking the truth,” which he repeats multiple times. It’s quite something to claim that DeSean Jackson was “speaking the truth” here by posting an Instagram photo of a fake Hitler quote; that’s not in the vicinity of truth. And even if you go beyond the author issue, and even if you focus on just the part Jackson didn’t black out in his second post, the “The will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were,” that’s still a comment about Jews (even if you don’t include who the “The” is) that falls in line with all sorts of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about world domination. Describing that as “speaking the truth” is certainly problematic, as is saying “U speak on anything involving Jews or Whites is hate.” Sharing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories attributed (even falsely) to Adolf Hitler is a step beyond “speaking on anything.” (And when you then go to the “The Rothschilds own all the banks” well the next day, you’re adding other layers of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.)
As per the receiver incident Stephen Jackson referenced at the end of his Tuesday remarks, that was with Riley Cooper in 2013. Cooper (who is white) was caught on video at a Kenny Chesney concert saying “I will jump that fence and fight every n***er here, bro.” That exploded, of course. But the way the Eagles condemned Cooper’s remarks in 2013 (“shocked and appalled”) was actually with similar language to what they put out in their statement on DeSean Jackson (“absolutely appalling) Tuesday. Here are those statements for comparison:
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) July 7, 2020
Whether the Eagles’ actions around Cooper (he was fined, but he wasn’t suspended in a meaningful way; he was excused from some offseason team activities to attend counselling, but didn’t miss a game, and he did sign a five-year contract with the team the following February) can absolutely be debated. But the Eagles have announced no punishment for Jackson at this point, only saying “We are continuing to evaluate the circumstances and will take appropriate action.” As of this moment, it’s hard to argue that they’re being harsher on Jackson than Cooper.
And while Stephen Jackson said “They killing us, police killing us and treating us like shit, 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,” the NFL as a whole has spoken out recently with a “Black Lives Matter” statement, as have many teams. Whether that’s enough given their past actions (especially around Colin Kaepernick’s protests) can absolutely be debated, and some players (including former Eagles’ DE Michael Bennett) have criticized the league for not going far enough, and for not owning the way they’ve shut Kaepernick out. But it’s not “speaking the truth” to say that no owners or teams have spoken out on the current protests in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd (a close friend of Stephen Jackson’s, which has led to Jackson speaking at various Black Lives Matter protests and rallies), Breonna Taylor and others. And it’s certainly not “speaking the truth” or “trying to educate people” to share fake Adolf Hitler quotes with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.