Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an icon on and off the court.
An NBA legend, he is also a vocal social justice advocate, having stood alongside Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown and Bill Russell to fight for civil rights in the 1960s.
At 73 years old and decades after retirement, he’s still active. On Wednesday he criticized Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson and former NBA player Stephen Jackson over their anti-Semitic rhetoric in a column for The Hollywood Reporter.
‘Shocking lack of massive indignation’
He didn’t set his sights squarely on sports figures, leveling criticism for rapper Ice Cube, comedian Chelsea Handler and President Donald Trump while calling for “outrage over anti-Semitism in sports and Hollywood.”
“Recent incidents of anti-Semitic tweets and posts from sports and entertainment celebrities are a very troubling omen for the future of the Black Lives Matter movement, but so too is the shocking lack of massive indignation,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
How we got here
Abdul-Jabbar chastised DeSean Jackson for his recent social media post of a quote falsely attributed to Adolph Hitler that referred to Black people as “the real children of Israel” and cited Hitler’s alleged plan to incite World War III from his grave.
He rebuked Stephen Jackson for his support of DeSean, writing that his statements “undid whatever progress his previous advocacy may have achieved.”
Stephen Jackson was a prominent voice in the protests of the killing of George Floyd, who was a friend of his. He also defended DeSean Jackson’s anti-Semitic post long after DeSean had apologized for it.
Stephen Jackson doubled down after being criticized by peddling another anti-Semitic trope about the Rothchilds, a Jewish banking family. He also invoked Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as “deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT.”
“That is the kind of dehumanizing characterization of a people that causes the police abuses that killed his friend, George Floyd,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
Abdul-Jabbar: Ice Cube’s ‘truth’ is anti-Semitic
Abdul-Jabbar called out Handler for posting a video clip of Farrakhan on her Instagram page and Ice Cube for a string of tweets peddling conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic memes. He likened Ice Cube’s lack of remorse to Trump.
“His ‘truth’ was clearly anti-Semitic but, like Trump, he believes his truth exists outside facts,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
To close, Abdul-Jabbar called for those advocating justice for one group to demand for justice for all.
“If we’re going to be outraged by injustice, let’s be outraged by injustice against anyone.”
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