Zach Banner condemns anti-Semitism in emotional DeSean Jackson speech

New York Post:

An NFL player choked up as he condemned anti-Semitism a day after Eagles star receiver DeSean Jackson apologized for his offensive Instagram posts.

Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner said he had trouble sleeping Wednesday morning after learning that the 33-year-old Jackson had shared hateful quotes, falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, while also praising a political activist famous for making anti-Semitic remarks.

“There’s a common misbelief among black and brown people — and I know this from growing up [in Lakewood, Washington] and I’ve listened to it — that Jewish people are just any other white race. … You mix them up with the rest of the majority and don’t understand that they’re a minority as well,” said Banner, who, like Jackson, is black.

“I didn’t know this until I went to USC and I had friends, who are now family members believe it or not, who are part of the Jewish community, current students and alumni.”

Banner then became visibly emotional as he discussed the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting that left 11 dead in 2018, his first season with the Steelers.

“Just tough, man,” he said while addressing the shooting from his apartment balcony overlooking Pittsburgh. “We need to understand that Jewish people deal with the same amount of hate and similar hardships and hard times. I’m not trying to get emotional right now. I want to preach to the black and brown community that we need to uplift [the Jewish community] and put our arms around them just as much when we talk about Black Lives Matter and elevating ourselves. We can’t do that while stepping on the back of other people to elevate ourselves. That’s very important to me and should be important to everyone.”

Banner has participated in Black Lives Matter protests in Pittsburgh since the death of George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police in May.

“Change your heart, put your arm around people and let’s all uplift each other,” the 26-year-old Banner said.

Read more at The New York Post

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