This article appeared in the July 14, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Julian Edelman starts an uncomfortable conversation about anti-Semitism

Photos by AP
Composite image of New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (left) and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Mr. Edelman said he hopes that recent anti-Semitic social media posts by Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson can be a teaching moment not just for him but others as well.

You may have heard that DeSean Jackson, the Philadelphia Eagles receiver, was widely criticized for recently posting anti-Semitic comments on social media. 

New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman hasn’t said much about his Jewish heritage during his 11-year NFL career. But Edelman’s response was a 2-minute 30-second Instagram master class on handling hate.

He didn’t respond with anger or derision. He also didn’t give Jackson a pass: “Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred. It’s rooted in ignorance and fear,” he said.

He praised Jackson’s gridiron feats and looked for common ground. “I think the Black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities. One unfortunate similarity is that they are both attacked by the ignorant and the hateful,” said Edelman.

He goes on to say that real change comes from uncomfortable conversations. He invited Jackson to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. and suggested Jackson take him to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “And then afterward we’ll grab some burgers and we’ll have those uncomfortable conversations. This world needs a little more love, compassion, and empathy.”

Jackson has apologized for his posts. Edelman followed up with a phone call, and tweeted Friday they had agreed to “educate one another and grow together.”

Love, compassion, and burgers. That’s a recipe for ending hate.


This article appeared in the July 14, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 07/14 edition
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