Stephen Jackson Says Defending DeSean Jackson is Not Anti-Semitic

Former NBA player and activist Stephen Jackson has admitted choosing the "wrong words" to defend DeSean Jackson, but insisted his support of the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver should not be mistaken as anti-Semitism.

The Eagles star caused a stir earlier this week, when he twice shared a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, which states that white Jews" will blackmail America. [They] will extort America [but] their plan for world domination won't work if the Negroes know who they were."

Jackson apologized for the posts, before his namesake leapt to his defense on Wednesday. In an Instagram video, the former NBA swingman claimed Jackson was "trying to educate himself" and that he was "speaking the truth."

Speaking to CNN's Don Lemon on Wednesday night, Jackson acknowledged he struck the wrong tone.

"As I first stated when I got on here, I could've changed my words," he said. "But there's nothing that said that I support any of that [anti-Semitism]. There's nothing that I said that I hate anybody."

"You know he don't hate nobody, but he's speaking the truth of the facts that he knows and trying to educate others."

In the Instagram video, which was subsequently deleted, the 14-season NBA veteran did not directly address anti-Semitism or Hitler, but criticized the perceived double standard in the Eagles' response.

Philadelphia described its receiver's posts as "absolutely appalling", a reaction Jackson felt was markedly different to their response to former wide receiver Riley Cooper shouting a racial slur at a black security guard at a Kenny Chesney concert in 2013.

Cooper subsequently apologized and was fined by the team, before signing a five-year deal extension 12 months later.

"Maybe I could've been more clear of what I thought DeSean was correct about, but I didn't feel the need to go into a conversation that me and him had about how they were treating him and Riley Cooper," Jackson told Lemon.

"I could've changed those words, but the people that know me—my Jewish friends that I talked to today—they know that the last thing I was spewing was to defend Hitler or any other post.

"That's why I didn't speak on Hitler or even speak on his post. I spoke on exactly what I agreed with, and they was handling him different than they was handling Cooper. That's the end of it. They can twist it how they want, but that's exactly what it is. I don't hate nobody."

Jackson, who retired from the NBA in 2014, has been a prominent anti-discrimination campaigner and social justice advocate after his friend George Floyd was killed while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25.

He told Lemon he felt compelled to defend Jackson because of the response the wideout's comments attracted, compared to reaction that followed the incident involving Cooper.

However, he strongly refuted the suggestion that defending Jackson implied he supported anti-Semitism.

"I've been out here fighting for justice and equality," he added. "And I was speaking on equality—why they wasn't handling Cooper and DeSean Jackson any other way.

"Like I said, they can twist it how they want to. You didn't hear a word out of my mouth saying, 'I hate Jews.' You didn't hear a word out of my mouth saying, 'I'm supporting Hitler.'

"They can twist it how they want. I don't hate nobody. I've been standing up for everybody. I'm gonna continue to. And that's just the end of it."

On Tuesday, after being publicly reprimanded by the Eagles, Jackson apologized for the posts.

"I just want to y'know first off, extend an apology on behalf of me and what I stand for," he said in an Instagram video. "I never want to put any race down or any people down, and my post was definitely not intended for anybody of any race to feel any type of way, especially the Jewish community."

Stephen Jackson, NBA
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson, a friend of George Floyd's, speaks during a rally in front of the Hennepin County Government Center on June 11 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The rally was a demand for police reform and justice for George Floyd and other black men and women who have been killed by law enforcement. Brandon Bell/Getty

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