An assistant football coach for Vanderbilt University has been relieved of his duties pending the outcome of an investigation after a comment he made praising Kanye West came to light late last week.
According to the StopAntisemitism.org advocacy organization, defensive backs coach Dan Jackson posted on social media that “Kanye is two steps ahead of everyone. He’s not crazy.”
The post went on to state that the rapper and fashion designer is “not crazy” but that “people try to silence him because he thinks for himself.”
“Rappers and athletes are taught they need to think the same as the media/politicians,” Jackson wrote. “If they have an opinion that is opposite the mainstream, they’re called crazy. More people need to wake up and speak their mind.”
StopAntisemitism tweeted in response: “We are extremely concerned to see Vanderbilt University's Assistant Football Coach – Dan Jackson – defend Kanye West's antisemitism on a Facebook thread, stating people need to wake up. Wake up to what exactly? Kanye's ongoing peddling that Jews control the world?!”
Vanderbilt’s athletic director, Candice Lee, said in a statement that there “have been several questions and concerns expressed” about Jackson’s comment.
“As a department, we understand and hear very clearly how this situation has impacted members of our community and those outside of Vanderbilt. Our internal review of the matter began immediately over the weekend,” Lee said, explaining that Jackson will “step back from his responsibilities with the team” while an “Equal Opportunity and Access office review” occurs.
“To be clear, Vanderbilt rejects antisemitism, racism and discrimination in all its forms,” Lee added. “It is important the university follow its standard process and conduct a thorough review of the complexities of this incident.”
Jackson issued an apology on Twitter on Friday condemning antisemitism:
"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.”