The ball is in Jeffrey Lurie’s court following DeSean Jackson’s anti-Semitic Instagram posts on Monday. Will the Eagles owner cut the 33-year-old wide receiver? Will the Tuesday hand-slap Jackson got from the organization when it called his messages “offensive, harmful and absolutely appalling'' be the extent of their outrage? Will there be more punishment to come if Jackson doesn’t act convincingly repentant.
“I can’t predict what the Eagles will do,” the club’s former president, Joe Banner, said in a Tuesday interview with The Inquirer. “But I know them well enough to know they will not be OK with it and will be upset and think what he did and said is wrong. Exactly what action this leads to, I wouldn’t try to predict.”
The Eagles released a statement Tuesday morning condemning the Instagram posts but did not indicate what disciplinary action will be taken, if any.
Banner, who is Jewish, was outraged by Jackson’s posts, which included anti-Semitic comments from Louis Farrakhan, and other anti-Semitic quotes falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler. In a Monday night tweet, Banner called Jackson’s posts “absolutely indefensible.”
Jackson claims his posts were taken “the wrong way” and insists he has “no hatred in my heart towards no one.”
Banner, who was the Eagles’ front-office chief when the team selected Jackson in the second round of the 2008 draft, isn’t buying it.
Asked whether the Eagles should release Jackson for his posts, Banner said, “If I were sitting in the decision-making seat, it’s obvious that what he said and did is completely outrageous and unacceptable and has to be dealt with. But as far as his employment, that’s tough. I’d have to really be in that seat to be forced to take it through to make that decision. The emotional part of me says yes. The practical, philosophical part of me says it’s a tougher answer.
“But he certainly should be condemned. The outrageousness of his comments ... any claim by him that he was misunderstood, I mean you can’t misunderstand saying Hitler was right. Those three words are pretty clear. It’s not an accident.
“You can’t misunderstand quoting Louis Farrakhan, who has said some of the most hateful things about women, gays, and Jews of any human being on earth, almost always based on lies. So there’s nothing to misunderstand here. He said it. He meant it. It’s wrong. And we just have to deal with what do we do about it.”
In a statement Tuesday, the NFL called Jackson’s posts “highly inappropriate, offensive and divisive and stand in start contrast to the NFL’s values of respect, equality and inclusion.‘' The league said it has been in contact with the Eagles about Jackson.
“The league needs to make it clear that this is unacceptable, and won’t be tolerated,” Banner said before the NFL issued the statement. “They’ve done a much better job recently in my opinion of making it clear that hate and hateful speech and lies about any group are unacceptable.
“It would have more impact if it’s public because other people that have similar mindsets may be influenced by this. But even if it’s done privately, it would be a consequential step.”
Only Jackson knows what moved him to post these comments on Instagram.
“That’s what’s so distressing,” Banner said. “You have people saying racist things and claiming they’re not racist. You have people saying flagrant anti-Semitic things and then claiming they’re not anti-Semitic. You have people saying things about women that are absolutely outrageous and then saying they don’t have any prejudice.