‘Blacks are wrong to think Jews are like other whites,’ said Pittsburgh Steelers player Zach Banner while blasting Jackson’s anti-Semitic remarks and the deafening silence from fellow professional football players.
Pittsburgh Steelers football player Zach Banner made a hugely powerful statement this week, calling on “my NFL brothers” to join him to support the Jewish community in the wake of an anti-Semitic social media post by another NFL player.
Saying that the anti-Semitic remarks by Philadelphia Eagles player DeSean Jackson had kept him awake, Banner tweeted a message to his fellow players saying, “We must hold each other accountable. We must STAND up and for one another. We must keep our focus on the movement at hand.”
“I’m not going to lie. The lack of empathy from my brothers in the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) towards the DeSean Jackson situation…and our Jewish friends and fans – most importantly fans and the Jewish community, is…horrendous.” Banner said in a video he posted on Twitter.
“When one of us does something dumb and makes a mistake like that, we need to hold each other accountable,” Banner said. “Not only via text and not only ourselves, but publicly, because the Jewish community right now is pissed.”
The Steelers offensive tackle, who joined the NFL in 2017, posted another video on his social media feeds to talk about how Jews are also a persecuted minority.
“There’s a common mis-belief amongst black and brown people, and I know this from growing up, and I’ve heard it, and I’ve listened to it. That Jewish people are just like any other white race,” Banner said in a video Wednesday. “You mix them up with the rest of the majority, and you don’t understand that they’re a minority as well.”
Banner said he also didn’t realize it until he went to college at the University of Southern California, where he met Jews who are his “friends and now even family members.”
The fatal 2018 terror attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue in which 11 people were murdered and six wounded had a profound effect on him during his first year on the team.
“We need to understand that Jewish people deal with the same amount of hate and similar hardships and hard times,” Banner said.
“I want to preach to the black and brown community that we need to uplift them and put our arms around them just as much when we talk about the Black Lives Matter, and we talk about elevating ourselves – we can’t do that while stepping on the back of other people to elevate ourselves. That’s very very important for me and it should be important to everyone,” he said.
“We can’t preach equality but in the result we’re just trying to flip the script and change the hierarchy,” Banner said.
“Change your heart, put your arm around people and let’s all uplift each other,” he concluded.
Banner posted a modified version of the Steelers well-known “Steelmark” logo, replacing one of the three astroids with a Star of David, saying it was “a simple, but strong representation.”
“But before I go to bed, I want to personally ask NFL for more attention to this situation. Help put this group of people at ease after a crappy week,” he posted.
This video is to transition from the incident, and move forward as a community. Not to harp on @DeSeanJackson10 mistake, but to progress by educating ourselves. We can’t move forward while allowing ourselves to leave another minority race in the dark.#Equality pic.twitter.com/MnLnCCYzQL
— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) July 8, 2020