New York Jets star Sauce Gardner says his ‘intentions were positive’ when he said that Jews ‘run the world’
Sauce Gardner on the field against the New England Patriots, Jan. 7, 2024. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

By Jacob Gurvis
March 27, 2024

(New York Jewish Week) — New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner says his “intentions were positive” when he echoed an antisemitic trope in a video clip on Monday.

Gardner, 23, the fourth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, had joined a livestream with online influencer Adin Ross, who is Jewish and has his own history of inflammatory comments. In a 29-second clip circulating online, Ross and Gardner are sitting in a room with several other people when Ross says, “A Jew sold it to me because I’m Jewish.”

What he was referring to was unclear, but Gardner jumped in: “Imma be honest, like no funny weird shit,” he said, before pausing and putting his hand over his face.

Gardner continued, “Y’all run the world. They got so much motion throughout the whole world. Y’all gotta see how they be walking in the airport.”

Three of the men in the room laughed at Gardner’s remark, along with Ross. One of the men can be heard saying, “That’s facts.”

On Tuesday, following accusations of antisemitism, Gardner posted a statement on X, formerly Twitter, claiming he was unaware of the negative connotations of his comments.

“I love all people,” he wrote. “While my intentions were positive, I just learned that people use those exact words I shared for hate towards Jewish people. That is not what I am about and I appreciate those who took the time to educate me on that fact.”

A few hours prior, in a post that has since been deleted, Gardner had also written: “I love all people; Including Jewish people. The majority of my agency/marketing team are Jewish. You probably just took what I said the wrong way but what I said was meant to be a good thing.”

The New York Jets did not return a New York Jewish Week request for comment.

Gardner is the latest in a string of athletes in recent years to face accusations of antisemitism following social media posts. In 2020, NFL star DeSean Jackson posted antisemitic quotes attributed to Adolf Hitler, and later apologized. The following year, NBA player Meyers Leonard used an antisemitic slur on the gaming platform Twitch, and later apologized and engaged with the local Jewish community. The year after that, 2022, NBA star Kyrie Irving ignited a firestorm when he promoted an antisemitic film and initially declined to apologize.

Gardner has at least one defender — Ross, who has millions of followers across TikTok, the livestream app Kick and other platforms, and who came to Gardner’s defense in a reply to his X post.

“Bro I’m Jewish,” Ross wrote. “You did and said nothing wrong you said Jews run the world in a good way which is true, I said you were fine so ima defend you. Don’t give in, f— these fake woke ppl.” He added a middle-finger emoji at the end.

Ross, 23, has been surrounded by controversy in the past, including in 2022 when he initially offered to interview rapper Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, after West’s string of antisemitic comments. Ross has also been banned from the popular streaming platform Twitch multiple times for racist, homophobic and antisemitic speech from him and his followers. Ross has also been close with Andrew Tate, the far-right misogynist influencer who was arrested for human trafficking.

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