SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz reserve guard Justin Wright-Foreman apologized for retweeting a message that was in support of Nick Cannon’s anti-Semitism comments.
In a video call with media on Friday, Wright-Foreman said he wasn’t fully educated on the topic and that he didn’t mean to offend anyone.
Wright-Foreman had retweeted a message that stated, "Nick Cannon said nothing wrong. Everyone just sensitive and hates the truth."
Cannon, a popular host and entertainer, has been under fire since he and former Public Enemy member Richard Griffith discussed racial bias on an episode of Cannon’s podcast.
In the episode, Cannon and Griffith agree that Black people are the “true Hebrews” and say people who have lighter skin “had to be savages.” Those remarks were directed to Jewish people, white people and Europeans.
“You can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people. … That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews,” Cannon said.
Cannon was fired by ViacomCBS for the comments.
If he didn’t already, Wright-Foreman now has an idea of the scrutiny that comes with being in the NBA — and that includes even a retweet. He said he wasn’t fully aware of what Cannon had said and was just scrolling through his Twitter feed when he retweeted it.
"I would like to apologize for my retweet,” Wright-Foreman said. “I wasn’t educated enough on the topic I didn’t mean to offend anyone. Those are not my beliefs and values.”
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, who is on National Basketball Coaches Association's committee on racial and social justice reform, said he and the team have spoken with the young guard about the retweet, and that Wright-Foreman has taken it as a chance to become more knowledgeable of social topics. Wright-Foreman has since undone the retweet.
“He’s painfully aware that he made a mistake,” Snyder said. “I think it’s something he’s remorseful about. It won’t happen again. The issue of education is forefront in our minds. I know it is for Justin, as well.”
That education is something local Jewish leaders, many of whom consider themselves Jazz fans, were hoping for when informed about the incident.
Rabbi Avremi Zippel, program director of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, urged the Jazz organization to use the tweet to further inform players about anti-Semitism. Rabbi Sam Spector of Congregation Kol Ami in Salt Lake City even offered an invitation for Wright-Foreman to have a conversation with Jewish leaders to become educated on the topic.
“As a child, professional athletes were my heroes, models and exemplars. I can only imagine the pain I’d feel if one of the people I admired so greatly retweeted something that made me feel badly about myself for being Jewish,” said Rabbi Spector in a social media post. “Also as an impressionable kid, I wonder if hearing an athlete on my favorite team say something hateful would make me prejudiced against that group. Sadly, I think many of our religious school students who are huge Jazz fans will learn a painful lesson about anti-Semitism from this incident.”
According to Rabbi Benny Zippel, executive director of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, said Steve Starks, CEO Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment called him Thursday to apologize on behalf of the organization and let him know a formal apology would be coming.
"I didn't have any knowledge about the retweet," Wright-Foreman said. "I didn't mean to offend anybody at all. That's not me. I apologize."