Julian Edelman offers to take DeSean Jackson to Holocaust Memorial Museum
As the NFL community continues to deal with Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson’s anti-Semitic social-media post, Patriots receiver Julian Edelman has offered his thoughts.
Edelman, who is Jewish, posted a video on social media addressing the situation, culminating in an invitation to Jackson to take a trip to the nation’s capital for a mutual effort in learning and understanding.
“I’ve been getting hit up by everyone asking me about this DeSean Jackson post, and I wanted to take some time before I responded because it’s a complicated issue, and I wanted to be thoughtful,” Edelman says at the outset of the 140-second video. “I wrote down some of my thinking.
“I’ve seen DeSean play in his career, make outstanding football plays. We’ve communicated over social media. I’ve got nothing but respect for his game. I know he said some ugly things, but I do see an opportunity to have a conversation.”
Later in the video, Edelman identifies a common ground with Jackson.
“I think the black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities,” Edelman explains. “One unfortunate similarity is that they are both attacked by the ignorant and the hateful.”
Edelman outlines ideas for proceeding, both general and specific.
“We need to listen, we need to learn, we need to act,” Edelman says. “We need to have those uncomfortable conversations, if we’re gonna have real change. So to that end, DeSean, let’s do a deal. How ‘bout we go to D.C. and I take you to the Holocaust Museum, and then you take me to the Museum of African-American History and Culture. Afterward, we grab some burgers, and we have those uncomfortable conversations.”
Edelman also reflects on his Jewish heritage during the video.
“For me it’s not just about religion, it’s about community and culture as well,” Edelman says. “I’m unusual, because I didn’t identify as Jewish until later in my life. Whenever I encountered hatred, it never really felt like it was aimed at me. It was only after I was part of this community that I learned how destructive hate is. Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred. It’s rooted in ignorance and fear.”
Edelman says he experienced some of that hatred in 2011, when an anti-Semitic slur was directed at him on the football field.
It’s still unclear whether Jackson’s actions came from random ignorance or conscious hatred. Regardless, Jackson is getting plenty of opportunities to learn and to grow. The opportunity to hash out these issues directly with another NFL player who plays the same position as Jackson could be the best way to do it.