Vanderbilt coach apologizes after defending Kanye West, anti-Semitic comments

Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Vanderbilt University assistant football coach Dan Jackson has apologized after claims were made on social media that he defended Kanye West’s recent anti-Semitic comments.

StopAntisemitism, a nonpartisan organization aimed at exposing antisemitism, posted on Twitter Friday afternoon claiming Jackson defended West on a Facebook thread. The post shows a screenshot of a Facebook comment, where Jackson defends West and says people “need to wake up.”

“Kayne is two steps ahead of everyone. He’s not crazy,” Jackson wrote in the Facebook post. “People try to silence him because he thinks for himself. People don’t want that. Rappers and athletes are taught to think the same as the media/politicans. If they have an opinion that is opposite the mainstream, they’re called crazy. More people need to wake up and speak their mind.”

West has been scrutinized as of late for many anti-Semitic comments, including a threatening Tweet in which he said he would go “death con 3 on Jewish people.”

Late Friday, Jackson released a statement on Twitter regarding his comments on the issue. It has since been made private.

Vanderbilt assistant coach Dan Jackson.
Vanderbilt assistant coach Dan Jackson.(Courtesy of Vanderbilt University)

“I want to sincerely apologize for recent comments that I made on social media. While it was certainly not my intent to offend, my wording was careless, and it was in poor judgement to wade into such a discussion without the full context,” Jackson said in the statement. “My comments were in no way reflective of our program or university, and I accept full responsibility for my words and will learn from this experience going forward. To be clear, antisemitism has no place in our society, and I reject all forms of hate. I’m embarrassed by my mistake but proud to work at a diverse institution where we can learn from each other’s cultures. I promise to be better moving forward for myself, our program and our institution.”

Vanderbilt University Athletic Director Candice Lee and head football coach Clark Lea said in a joint statement Friday night they were aware of Jackson’s social media activity.

“Although we have been assured these comments were not directed at any specific group, we are deeply disappointed by this situation and are handling it internally,” the statement says, without giving specifics on how the university will handle the matter. “The university and its athletics program are committed to creating and fostering a welcoming environment for all where differences are respected and all members of our community feel equal, valued and included. Please know that we reject antisemitism and discrimination in all its forms.”

Jackson is a defensive backs coach at Vanderbilt. He joined the Commodores staff this year after spending time at Northern Illinois and South Dakota State, according to the university’s website.