New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is Jewish, responded on social media Thursday to Philadelphia Eagles DeSean Jackson’s anti-Semitic social media posts.
“I know he said some ugly things but I do see an opportunity to have a conversation,” Edelman said on Instagram. “I’m proud of my Jewish heritage and for me it’s not just about religion. It’s about community and culture as well.”
He went on to say, “Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred. It’s rooted in ignorance and fear.”
The 34-year-old talked about an experience in 2011 when someone on the football field called him a slur.
“There’s no room for anti-Semitism in this world. Even though we’re talking about anti-Semitism, I don’t want to distract from how important the Black Lives Matter movement is and how we need to stay behind it. I think the Black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities.”
“We need to listen. We need to learn. We need to act. We need to have those uncomfortable conversations if we’re going to have real change.”
Edelman offered to go with Jackson to the US Holocaust Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.
“This world needs a little more love, compassion and empathy,” said Edelman.
The issue started over the weekend, when Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted a series of anti-Semitic Instagram posts, one of which included a quote about Jews falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler.
Jackson posted a passage to his Instagram Story that claimed to quote Hitler in saying that Black people were “the real Children of Israel,” and that White Americans would be terrified to know that they have been “mistreating and discriminating and lynching” them, screenshots published by the Philadelphia Inquirer and other publications show.
The passage is often quoted by those arguing that Hitler was not racist, according to Snopes.com
Jackson later apologized for the posts, saying he didn’t realize what the passage was saying.
“Hitler has caused terrible pain to Jewish people like the pain African-Americans have suffered. We should be together fighting anti-Semitism and racism. This was a mistake to post this and I truly apologize for posting it and sorry for any hurt I have caused,” he said in a statement on Instagram.
Jackson’s comments were fiercely criticized, and advocacy organizations called on him to learn more about the history of anti-Semitism. Both the Eagles and the NFL weighed in on the matter, calling the comments offensive.
CNN’s Harmeet Kaur contributed to this report.