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VIDEO: Stephen Jackson apologizes for anti-Semitic comments during CNN interview


Former NBA player Stephen Jackson faced some serious backlash after coming to the defense of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson earlier this week. The latter had posted a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, and Stephen Jackson backed him over a series of Instagram Live conversations — something several in the media viewed as the perpetuation of anti-Semitism.

Stephen Jackson went on CNN on Wednesday night, apologizing only for “using the wrong words,” but standing by his support of the Eagles’ wideout, citing a double standard.

In 2013, Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, a white football player, was taped saying the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert. He was reprimanded and sent to counseling, only to get a multi-year deal at the end of that season. According to Stephen Jackson, DeSean Jackson called him shortly after the incident erupted, saying he was threatened with losing his job.

Wednesday night’s talk with Don Lemon could have been a precious opportunity for Stephen Jackson to come correct, but it came across as a half-hearted apology instead. Lemon pointed out that his backing of anti-Semitic rhetoric was indeed offensive to Jewish people, even if his intent wasn’t to back Hitler or anti-Semitic ideas.

Jackson wasn’t willing to reason with Lemon, who pointed out his mention of the Rothschild family, who own millions in bank and real estate businesses. Here is a part of their exchange:

Lemon: “Do you understand that that is an anti-Semitic trope about Jews and money — and it’s very offensive, Stephen.”

Jackson: “Don, can you go back and watch the whole conversation and why we brought it up? We was talking about money — and when I said that he didn’t take it the wrong way. He was saying that people with money wasn’t associated with Jews and I just asked him that. It wasn’t an insult and he didn’t take it as an insult. Our conversation went on and we had a good conversation. If the person who I’m talking to understood what I was saying and he didn’t take it as an insult, I don’t think nobody else should.”

Jackson unknowingly offended Jews in efforts to back his friend DeSean Jackson, but he’s still failing to acknowledge what he did actually hurt others. His intent to show a double standard in the NFL giving a white man the benefit of the doubt and being willing to fire a black man on the spot went outside the lines and he remains unapologetic for that.

Lemon is seen gasping in frustration several times during this clip, as he tried to educate Jackson on why he erred in saying what he said, though it was all for naught.

Ultimately, a video of Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner closed out the segment nicely, as he preached equal understanding and support for Jewish people, a message Stephen Jackson stood behind.