JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jaguars, University of Florida and University of Georgia strongly condemned an antisemitic message projected onto one of the giant videoboards at TIAA Bank Field on Saturday as well as antisemitic banners displayed on a Jacksonville overpass on Friday.
The message at the stadium appeared after Florida and Georgia played their annual game at TIAA Bank Field on Saturday. The message displayed on the backside of one of the TIAA Bank Field videoboards read, “Kanye was right about the Jews.” That was in reference to recent tweets and antisemitic comments made recently by musician/producer/designer Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.
According to WJXT TV-4 in Jacksonville, there also were two banners displayed on an overpass near Interstate 10 on Friday that read “End Jewish Supremacy in America” and “Honk if you know it’s the Jews.”
The schools released a joint statement on Sunday morning.
“We strongly condemn the antisemitic hate speech projected outside TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville after the Florida-Georgia football game Saturday night and the other antisemitic messages that have appeared in Jacksonville,” the statement read. “The University of Florida and the University of Georgia together denounce these and all acts of antisemitism and other forms of hatred and intolerance. We are proud to be home to strong and thriving Jewish communities at UGA and UF, and we stand together against hate.”
Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who is with his team in London for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos, also was upset to learn of the messages.
“I’m personally dismayed to learn of antisemitic rhetoric and messages that marred the experience Saturday at the Florida-Georgia game,” Khan’s statement read. “I know this is not representative of our community, but it happened and it’s outrageous. It’s hurtful and wrong. It has to stop. I’m asking everyone to make it their mission to end the ignorance and hatred. Let’s be better.”
Last year, the Anti-Defamation League recorded 2,717 incidents of harassment, vandalism or violence targeting Jews — the highest annual total since it began tracking these incidents in 1979. The recent antisemitic incidents come four years after the deadliest attack on American Jews, when 11 people were killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and just days before the contentious midterm elections throughout the U.S.
A nonprofit founded by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft took the extra step of planning to air an ad during the Patriots-New York Jets game on Sunday that condemned anti-Jewish hate speech and encouraged people who are not Jewish to speak up against antisemitism.
“Recently many of you have spoken up,” the 30-second ad from Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism said. “We hear you today. We must hear you tomorrow. There are less than 8 million Jewish people in this country. Fewer than are watching this ad. They need you to add your voice.”
The ad, which was scheduled to air during the first quarter of the game, ends with the hashtag: #StandUpToJewishHate.
“I have committed tremendous resources toward this effort and am vowing to do more,” Kraft said in a statement. “I encourage others to join in these efforts. My hope is this commercial will continue to enhance the national conversation about the need to speak out against hatred of all types, and particularly to stand up to Jewish hate.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.