Donovan McNabb and DeSean Jackson have a history together. The quarterback-wide receiver tandem played two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2008-09 before McNabb departed for Washington. In recent days, the veteran receiver has been at the center of controversy after featuring an Adolf Hitler quote on Instagram and expressing his admiration for Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader and someone the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have identified as anti-Semitic.
As disconnected and insensitive as Jackson’s posts were, something or someone inspired him to share them. Could that inspiration have possibly come from his former teammate and the first quarterback he ever played with in the NFL? McNabb has also recently quoted Farrakhan on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Donovan McNabb and DeSean Jackson pair up for big seasons in Philly
The Philadelphia Eagles finished the 2007 season with an 8-8 record. Donovan McNabb and the Eagles offense matched their mediocre record finishing 17th in the league in points scored. The following offseason, Philadelphia drafted DeSean Jackson in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft with the No. 49 overall pick.
Jackson came in and made an immediate impact. His speed allowed him to stretch the field, and the numbers reflected that. During his rookie season, Jackson hauled in 62 catches from McNabb for 912 yards and a pair of touchdowns. More importantly, the improved offense combined with a stout defense resulted in the Eagles making a deep run in the playoffs losing to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game.
After a successful rookie campaign, Jackson became McNabb’s go-to guy in 2009, where he led all Eagles receivers with 62 catches for 1,156 yards and scored nine touchdowns. For his individual efforts, Jackson made his first of three Pro Bowls. The team finished with an 11-5 record and made it to the playoffs where they lost in the wild card game to the Dallas Cowboys.
Following the 2009 season, McNabb headed down the coast to join the Washington Redskins.
DeSean Jackson’s Hitler and Louis Farrakhan controversy
On Monday, DeSean Jackson posted on social media an anti-Semitic message he attributed to Adolf Hitler. In addition, he expressed his admiration for Louis Farrakhan. The response was swift and severe.
The Eagles responded on Tuesday calling Jackson’s posts “offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling.” The team, whose owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman are both Jewish, said it would take “appropriate action.”
Jackson issued two separate apologies on Tuesday. “I want to apologize to the Jewish community, Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson, the Eagles organization and our fans for the insensitive and ill-informed posts that I shared on my social media,” Jackson wrote. He said his apology was more than words, it was “a promise to do better.”
Donovan McNabb shares Louis Farrakhan quotes
While DeSean Jackson was justifiably criticized for his posts, there wasn’t a single word mentioned a little over a month ago when Donovan McNabb shared a post to both his Twitter and Instagram accounts that quoted Farrakhan. McNabb shared the same message on both accounts with a picture of the Nation of Islam leader.
“There really can be no peace without justice. There can be no justice without truth. And there can be no truth, unless someone rises up to tell you the truth,” McNabb quoted.
Of course, Twitter responded. One follower asked if McNabb’s account had been hacked. Another expressed disappointment. “Oh Donovan. This is why Philly never truly embraced you. Too many unforced errors in judgment and execution,” the person wrote.
While Donovan McNabb, like Jackson, might have had good intentions when he posted the quote, it doesn’t take a lot of research to discover that Farrakhan has spewed hate for years against the Jewish community and why the Anti-Defamation League refers to him as “the leading anti-Semite in America.”
In a time when the nation is literally transforming before our eyes in a very positive way confronting the deep-rooted systemic racism that has been ingrained since our founding, these types of posts show there’s still a long way to go in addressing all forms of prejudice.