‘Let’s stop it’: Shad Khan, Mayor Curry and others condemn antisemitic messages seen around Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan on Sunday condemned recent antisemitic rhetoric around Jacksonville, saying there’s no place for that in a city he knows and loves.

Khan spoke with WJXTs Jamal St. Cyr before the Jaguars hit the field before Sunday’s game against the Broncos in London.

“I am really distressed on all this antisemitic rhetoric around Florida-Georgia. It’s hurtful,” he said. “And I mean, it’s not the Jacksonville I know and love and all of us have to work together to absolutely put an end to it. So, let’s stop it.”

Ye, the artist who was previously known as Kanye West before legally changing his name, sparked a recent wave of antisemitic actions across the country with disparaging comments and tweets about Jewish people. That has led to numerous visible antisemitic reactions across the area.

On Saturday night, a message that showed support for Ye and his statements was projected across the back side of one of the videoboards at TIAA Bank Field. That message was later projected on several other buildings in Downtown Jacksonville.

Mayor Lenny Curry also addressed the messages in a tweet Sunday morning.

“Jacksonville is a city made better because of its diversity. Those who spread messages of hate, racism and antisemitism will not be able to change the heart of this city or her people. I condemn these cowards and their cowardly messages,” Curry wrote.

Banners with similar messages were hung from overpasses on the Arlington Expressway and on Jacksonville’s Westside.

The University of Florida along with the University of Georiga issued a joint statement Sunday morning, saying they stand together against hate.

Others also spoke out against the statements, including Republican Congressman John Rutherford and the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties in Duval County.

“In the last 24 hours, Jacksonville has been attacked by a coordinated campaign of anti-semitic hate. These displays have no place in our community and are vile. I call on all our elected and community leaders to condemn these hateful displays of antisemitism and support our Jewish community. Silence breathes acceptance — this is not Duval,” Chairman Daniel Henry said in a statement.

“The kind of anti-Semitic hate speech being circulated online purportedly from the Florida-Georgia game is despicable and extremely disappointing. There is absolutely no room for this sort of hate in Northeast Florida. I continue to stand in support of the Jewish community in Jacksonville and across this nation,” Rutherford said in a statement.

“The Republican Party of Duval County condemns the recent displays of antisemitism in our city. Bigotry has no home here. We call on our community to stand against those who peddle hatred in order to divide us,” Duval GOP tweeted.

Condemnation continues to pile up after a series of antisemitic messages were posted and widely seen across Jacksonville last weekend. One of the targets of the hateful messaging was the sold out Georgia-Florida game.

About the Authors:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.