JETS OL ODAY ABOUSHI DEFENDS HIMSELF AGAINST EXTREMIST CLAIMS - New York Jets rookie offensive lineman Oday Aboushi, is one of the few Palestinian-Americans to play in the NFL, and on Friday Aboushi defended himself against a website’s article that called him a “Muslim extremist.”
Aboushi was angered by the story, published Tuesday by FrontPage Magazine, as well other comments in response to the piece.
“It is upsetting to see people try and tarnish my reputation without even knowing me,” he said in a statement issued by the team. “But I appreciate all the support I have been getting from people of all backgrounds across the city and country.”
Aboushi was born in Brooklyn and now lives in Staten Island. He was drafted of Virginia in the fifth-round by the Jets. He is one of just a small handful of Palestinian-American players to enter the NFL, including former linebacker Tarek Saleh, former quarterback Gibran Hamdan, and former defensive lineman Nader Abdallah.
The story by FrontPage Magazine said Aboushi’s “latest infraction” came last month when he was in Virginia and “gave a speech at a radical Muslim conference sponsored by a group denying Israel’s right to exist and associated with blatantly anti-Semitic and terrorist propaganda.”
The Anti-Defamation issued a statement in Aboushi’s defense, saying “there’s a lot of exaggeration and hyperbole in all the talk about” the player.
“Absolutely nothing in the public record suggests Aboushi is anything other than a young American athlete who takes pride in his Palestinian heritage,” ADL director Abraham H. Foxman said. “His participation in a conference organized by the El-Bireh Society, a Palestinian community organization that was until recently defunct, should not be used to tar him as an extremist.”
Foxman added that being pro-Palestinian “does not mean you’re an anti-Semite or an extremist. The record simply does not show that Aboushi has crossed that line.”
In an interview with the Associated Press in May, Aboushi said being a Palestinian-American in the NFL was an honor and added that being able to break that mold and sort of open the door for other people and show them that it is possible, it’s a great feeling.“
The Jets, addressed the situation in a statement, saying they "strongly believe in diversity, inclusion and tolerance of others.” (Photo: Steve Helber/Associated Press)