Steeler Zach Banner speaks against anti-Semitism after DeSean Jackson comments
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Fighting Anti-Semitism'They are a minority as well'

Steeler Zach Banner speaks against anti-Semitism after DeSean Jackson comments

The Steeler offensive tackle said he wanted to help clear up common misconceptions about Jews

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Sept. 15, 2019. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images/JTA)
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Sept. 15, 2019. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images/JTA)

While many other NFL players have remained silent following the recent anti-Semitic comments of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, DeSean Jackson, Pittsburgh Steeler tackle Zach Banner spoke out on July 8 in support of the Jewish community.

Banner posted a 2-minute 18-second video on social media which he said he hoped would help educate others – like Jackson – who might have misconceptions about Jews.

Banner acknowledged “a common misbelief that among 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. You mix them up with the rest of the majority and you don’t understand that they are a minority as well.”

In recalling the 2018 massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue building, Banner became visibly choked up.

“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 Black Lives Matter and talk about elevating ourselves.

“We can’t do that while stepping on the backs of other people to elevate ourselves.”

It was not until he was a student at the University of Southern California, Banner said, that he got to know members of the Jewish community, some of whom eventually became his family members.

Jackson has apologized for posting anti-Semitic comments on social media attributed to Adolf Hitler, including that Jews “will blackmail America.” His comments were condemned by the Eagles. Team owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman are Jewish. PJC

Toby Tabachnick

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