Eagles say they penalized DeSean Jackson for posting anti-Semitic quotes

The Eagles said there is a plan for the star to move forward and suggested that his staying with the team depends on it.
Image: DeSean Jackson
Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson warms up before the game between the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 3, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa.Kyle Ross / con Sportswire via Getty Images file

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By Phil Helsel

The Philadelphia Eagles penalized wide receiver DeSean Jackson who posted anti-Semitic quotes he attributed to Hitler on Instagram this week, the team said Friday.

The Eagles did not provide details about the penalty, but said it acted because of "conduct detrimental to the team." Jackson accepted the consequences and apologized, according to the team statement.

"In our many conversations with him, it has also been made clear that this is only the beginning. We have discussed a concrete plan for how we and he can heal moving forward," the Eagles said in a statement.

"He understands that in order to remain on the team, he must also commit to supporting his words with actions," the team said.

NBC Sports reported that the penalty is a fine, and that according to terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, NFL teams can fine a player up to one week’s pay for conduct detrimental to the team. The team did not immediately respond to an email from NBC News Friday night seeking comment about details of the penalty.

On Instagram on Monday, Jackson, who began his NFL career with the Eagles and then went to other teams before returning for the 2019 season, showed a picture of text detailing a conspiracy theoryabout a Jewish plot to oppress African Americans.

He cited Adolf Hitler as the source of the anti-Semitic text, but it's more likely to have come from the book "Jerusalem" by Dennine Barnett.

In another Instagram post Monday, Jackson blacked out much of that offensive text and wrote "this," pointing to only one portion of the screed about a "plan for world domination," apparently as evidence he's not anti-Semitic.

The Eagles on Tuesday said they had spoken to Jackson and told him, "Regardless of his intentions, the messages he shared were offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling."

The NFL also said on Tuesday it found Jackson's social media postings to be offensive.

Jackson has apologized.

He posted a video on Instagram on Tuesday and spoke directly into the camera.

"I probably should have never posted anything that Hitler did, because Hitler was a bad person and I know that," Jackson said. "I was just trying to uplift African Americans."

The wide receiver tweeted Friday that he spoke with a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor and said he was "taking this time to continue with educating myself."

"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," the team said.

"We must continue to fight against anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination, while not losing sight of the important battle against systemic racism," it said.

Jackson has in the past professed his admiration for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has long used anti-Semitic and homophobic rhetoric. The Nation of Islam has been deemed an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia said it was disappointed by Jackson's posts and pleaded with him to turn away from Farrakhan: "We urge Mr. Jackson to use his platform as a professional athlete to promote unity and positivity, rather than the divisive words of a bigot."

The 33-year-old Jackson has played 12 seasons in the NFL with Philadelphia, Washington and Tampa Bay. He's now on his second stint with the Eagles.

His 10,420 career receiving yards ranks him fifth among active players.