Utah Jewish leaders angered by Jazz player's retweet

Justin Wright-Foreman
Posted at 9:41 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 15:48:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders of Utah's Jewish community are responding to a Utah Jazz player's retweet of a post supporting television host and actor Nick Cannon, who is accused of making anti-Semitic comments.

Jazz Guard Justin Wright-Foreman retweeted a message of support for comments Cannon made on a podcast.

Cannon recently appeared on a podcast in which he discussed racial bias with a former Public Enemy member, Richard Griffin. On the podcast, Variety reports that Cannon said Black people are the “true Hebrews" and discussed anti-Semitic conspiracy theories involving the Rothschild family.

“It’s never hate speech, you can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people,” Cannon said, according to Variety. “When we are the same people who they want to be. That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews.”

Wright-Foreman, a guard for the Salt Lake City Stars, an NBA G League team affiliated with the Utah Jazz, retweeted Twitter user @zdg_, who said "Nick cannon said nothing wrong. Everyone just sensitive and hates the truth."

Salt Lake City Rabbi Avremi Zippel responded to Wright-Foreman's tweet.

"It was shocking and frankly hurtful to see the vile sentiments that were retweeted today by Justin Wright-Foreman. Central to the Jewish faith is the notion that each and every human being was created in the image of God and as such are due basic human respect." the Rabbi said. "And it's sadly unfortunate that for some people the lifting up of all voices must come with the expense of putting others down"

In a Facebook post, Rabbi Zippel said Larry H. Miller CEO Steve Starks reached out to his father, Rabbi Benny Zippel, to personally apologize on behalf of the team.

ViacomCBS fired Cannon from his role as a producer for the VH1 show "Wild 'n Out." Cannon has since apologized for his remarks. He'll remain a host on FOX's "The Masked Singer."

State Rep. Patrice Arent, Utah's only Jewish legislator, also commented on the matter.

"“I am deeply disturbed that a member of the Jazz organization defended Nick Cannon’s anti-Semitic comment and hope that the Utah Jazz will disavow this hateful rhetoric," Rep. Arent said in a statement sent to FOX 13.

According to FOX 13’s content sharing partner, the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder began his Friday morning remarks to reporters by noting that the previous night, the NBA’s coaches had a meeting in which “the topic was not COVID, it’s not the bubble, it’s not basketball … it was social justice and racism. … There’s a resolve to keep this issue and conversation alive and in our minds.”

Wright-Forman also offered an apology.

“First and foremost, I would like to apologize for my retweet. I wasn’t educated enough on the topic,” Wright-Forman said. “And therefore, I just want to say that I apologize. I do not mean to offend anybody. And those are not my beliefs and values. And I just want to once again say I apologize.”