The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta held its business casual coffee event June 8, hosting a variety of athletes and those working in sports to talk with members of the community. Moderated by WSB-TV reporter Michael Seiden, the panelists included World Series winners, ACC basketball coaches, NFL team owners and others.
The conversation largely focused on the experiences the panelists had on being Jewish in the sports industry. Josh Pastner, head coach of men’s basketball at Georgia Tech, spoke about the opportunities brought about by being a coach and Jewish, mentioning the Hillel on campus that allowed him to be involved with the Jewish student community on campus.
A major topic of the discussion was anti-Semitism in sports, from the comments made by Los Angeles Rams wide receiver DeSean Jackson last year to the personal experiences of the panelists.
A number of the panelists, including Minnesota Vikings owner and chair of Jewish Federations of North America Mark Wilf, expressed optimism about the ability to transform remarks like Jackson’s into learning opportunities to get players and staff to understand Judaism and the dangers of anti-Semitism.