In the fallout of Meyers Leonard using an antisemitic slur during a livestream, further adding to a resumé of ignorance, Jewish NFL wide receiver Julian Edelman has posted a compassionate statement to Leonard with an offer to meet and discuss antisemitism.
Last July, Edelman took a very similar approach with fellow wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who posted a series of pictures to his Instagram stories, using a passage ostensibly attributed to Adolf Hitler.
Although there are a lot of questions about the source and origin of the passage that Jackson was referencing, what should be focused on is the fact that Jackson seemingly believed that it was attributable to Hitler, and he felt the need to share and passively endorse the message.
“I know he said some ugly things but I do see an opportunity to have a conversation,” Edelman said on Instagram in response to Jackson’s statements. “I’m proud of my Jewish heritage and for me it’s not just about religion. It’s about community and culture as well.”
“Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred. It’s rooted in ignorance and fear,” he said.
In his video, Edelman offered to meet with Jackson and take him to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., and to go with him to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He then offered to “go grab some burgers, and have those uncomfortable conversations.”
I can commend Edelman for what he’s trying to do. By showing compassion, he’s showing a desire to attempt to educate fellow athletes and to continue to push conversations of equality and understanding forward. That’s great. I’m glad he’s doing it. That said, when an athlete with the platform that Meyers Leonard or DeSean Jackson has uses that platform to further promote hatred and judgment, there needs to be real, tangible consequences.
Last summer, while our country was in the depths of massive turmoil over race issues, Leonard decided not to take a knee with the rest of his team. But hey, at least he wore the shirt.
“I am a compassionate human being and I truly love all people. I can’t fully comprehend how our world, literally and figuratively, has turned into Black and white. There’s a line in the sand, so to speak: ‘If you’re not kneeling, you’re not with us.’ And that’s not true. I will continue to use my platform, my voice and my actions to show how much I care about the African American culture and for everyone. I live my life to serve and impact others in a positive way,” Leonard said in the pregame media availability before not taking a knee.
Leonard posted this apology last night on his Instagram.
Leonard felt like he knew enough about Black Lives Matter to make the decision not to take a knee in support and solidarity with his Black teammates, but apparently didn’t know enough about the derogatory antisemitic slur that he chose to use? Bullshit.
Cut the shit, Leonard. Stop with the fake apologies and the innocence act and the promises of “living your life to serve and impact others in a meaningful way.” Your constant displays of racial ignorance have caught up to you, especially highlighted by the fact that your seemingly-soon-to-be-former-employer, the Miami Heat organization, is owned by Micky Arison, a Jewish Israeli-American.
For Leonard’s sake, I hope he learns. I hope he grows. I hope he takes Julian Edelman up on his offer for a Shabbat dinner. I hope he does all of these things while no longer having the platform to potentially normalize and condone antisemitic behavior.