So that’s it? Three toothless, insincere apologies? Maybe a fine?
Not enough. Not nearly enough.
DeSean Jackson quoted two of the most appalling anti-Semites of the past 100 years — Adolf Hitler (it wasn’t actually a Hitler quote) and Louis Farrakhan — and Jackson issues an off-the-cuff “If I offended you” and an “I’ll do better” and he’s going to meet with some rabbi?
We’ve been here before, with the same team. Have Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman learned nothing in the seven years since Riley Cooper?
Cooper, at a country music concert in the summer of 2013, was recorded using the n-word. His punishment: a small fine and a two-day trip home to Florida for self-reflection, or some garbage. When he got back, he was just as big a jerk as when he left.
I said then Cooper should have been suspended. He should have lost two game checks.
The same should happen now to Jackson.
If racial intolerance cannot be tolerated when directed at Black people, it cannot be tolerated when it comes from Black people. Yes, when compared to Cooper, it’s a double standard. No, it’s not fair. But we should not let the mistakes of our past excuse the sins of our present.
There is a conversation to be had about whether Jackson understands the depth and nature of the hatred embedded in the texts he posted. Stupidity and ignorance are eloquent defenses in this case, but, despite his consistently unsavory incidents, Jackson isn’t stupid and he isn’t ignorant, and to suggest he is, is borderline racist in itself. He went to Cal. He knows who Adolf Hitler is. He knows what the Holocaust was.
There is a conversation to be had about the toxic effect Farrakhan has had over the last 40 years on angry, disaffected young Black men over the past — men like my relatives, my friends, and myself. I’ve been to Farrakhan events. Yikes.
There is no conversation to be had about the heinous nature of Jackson’s words and actions. Jackson quoted Hitler, the most evil man to have lived in the Industrial Age. He might be remorseful, and he might get educated, but he needs to be punished. Just as Cooper should have been.
The Eagles didn’t have the courage to do it then. Will they have the courage now?
Suspending Cooper in 2013 would have crippled the team, perhaps even more than suspending Jackson now. Cooper, then a few weeks from his 26th birthday, was in the midst of his very brief prime: a 6-foot-3, 220-pound stallion of a receiver whose value skyrocketed when No. 1 receiver Jeremy Maclin blew out a knee.
Jackson, 33, is a much more dynamic player than Cooper ever was, but Jackson played just one full game in 2019, and he has missed an average of 5.4 games in the last five seasons. Still, considering the bare cupboard of receivers the Eagles have provisioned for Carson Wentz, Jackson might be the most important player on offense.
If nothing else, Jackson will be a constant distraction. You don’t (mis)quote Hitler and escape notice. He’s the most lethal big-play threat since Randy Moss, but this incident will define his career.
Cooper’s racism threatened to tear apart Chip Kelly’s locker room. Only Michael Vick, of all people, kept that from happening.
Jackson’s presence, unpunished, carries just as much baggage, if not more. Jews have perhaps been targeted more than any group since the white supremecist-endorsed candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump befell the United States beginning in 2015.
Fate and irony are feasting at this moment. Jackson was among the most aggrieved Eagles after Lurie and Roseman ignored Cooper’s racism. It infuriated Jackson that Cooper used Maclin’s absence to author a career year. Jackson then became the victim of Cooper’s success: Kelly’s palace coup after 2013 gained Kelly roster control, which led to Kelly cutting Jackson. Roseman and Lurie reacquired Jackson five years later and now must endure paying a man who posted clear and precise indictments of their own people. Roseman and Lurie are Jewish.
Karma, she’s a wily wench.
So here we stand. The Eagles coerced apologies. That will keep Jackson on the roster. That’s fine.
No apology would ever be enough. Not enough to repair this level of hurtfulness. Not enough to forgive this deep a dive into this well of hatred that traces back more than two millennia, with continual episodes of massacre, expulsion, segregation, torture, and genocide.
Apology accepted. Punishment levied.
See you at Game 3, DeSean.