Chris Szagola/Associated Press
On Wednesday, NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson posted an image on Instagram of him standing with Louis Farrakhan, who has been called anti-Semitic by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
On Thursday, Iverson released a statement clarifying that he had become friends with Farrakhan’s son, Mustapha Farrakhan, in the past, and that Mustapha had introduced him to his father in 2017, which is when the picture he posted on Instagram was taken.
Allen Iverson @alleniverson
Iverson also wrote that it wasn’t his intention to offend anyone by posting the picture and that he didn’t share the same views as Farrakhan, though he did write that he respected Farrakhan’s “strong voice on behalf of Black people and his impact on the Black community.”
A number of athletes have come under fire in recent days for supporting Farrakhan, including Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson and former NBA player Stephen Jackson.
Entertainer Nick Cannon also praised Farrakhan on a podcast this week, and former NBA star Dwyane Wade was criticized for a since-deleted tweet to Cannon in which he wrote “We are with you,” posted a black fist and added “Keep leading!”
Wade later sent out two tweets to clarify his intent:
I want to clarify my now deleted tweet. I was not supporting or condoning what Nick Cannon specifically said, but I had expressed my support of him owning the content and brand he helped create 🙏🏾
I was too quick to respond without being fully informed about his hurtful anti-Semitic remarks. As you all know I have ZERO tolerance for any hate speech!
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called out the messages of anti-Semitism, the support of Farrakhan and the lack of outrage over both in a column for the Hollywood Reporter:
“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. Given the New Woke-fulness in Hollywood and the sports world, we expected more passionate public outrage. What we got was a shrug of meh-rage.”
And Michael A. Fletcher of The Undefeated wrote that Farrakhan has long been a source of conflict between the Black and Jewish communities:
“Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam is widely admired across Black America for its 90-year track record of lifting up and cleaning up Black lives and its emphasis on Black self-help. Many African Americans look past Farrakhan’s frequent forays into mind-bending conspiracy theories and his long history of anti-Semitism to focus on what they see as his core message.
“That has long been a sore point in Black-Jewish relations. Through the years, a series of Black leaders have attempted to forge partnerships with Farrakhan in the hope of tapping into his broad grassroots appeal and were criticized for minimizing or ignoring his anti-Semitism, rather than acknowledging it for what it is.”
Those critiques mirror the ones leveled against former NBA stars like Jackson, Wade and Iverson in recent days.
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