The face of the NFL's newest social justice initiative is an anti-Semitic rapper who in his songs has called for violence against Jews and Asians.
Ice Cube, whose real name is O'Shea Jackson, has in his songs referred to a Jewish music producer as a "white Jew" and "cracker" and Asian shopkeepers as "little Chinese motherfucker[s]." He is also an admirer of Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has called Jews wicked and compared them to "termites."
Now, Ice Cube will lead the NFL's "economic equity" program to spur partnerships with black–owned businesses. The partnership is through the rapper's Contract With Black America Institute, which supports reparations and affirmative action for secondary schools and colleges.
The move comes as the NFL faces intense criticism over its handling of race issues. Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores earlier this year sued the league and three of its teams for alleged racial discrimination. Social justice activists have criticized the NFL for failing to hire more black head coaches.
Ice Cube has an extensive history of anti-Semitic, anti-white, and anti-Asian rhetoric. He came under fire in 2020 for a series of social media posts with anti-Semitic tropes and for praising Farrakhan.
"The Honorable Louis Farrakhan continues to warn America to this very second and he's labeled one of your ‘evil names' and you turn your ears off," Ice Cube tweeted in June 2020.
The rapper, who has posted photos with Farrakhan, later that month chided CNN anchor Jake Tapper for calling the preacher a "vile, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Semitic misogynist."
"Watch your mouth, Jake," Ice Cube warned Tapper, who is Jewish.
Ice Cube at the time denied allegations of anti-Semitism, but the scandal renewed scrutiny of songs from earlier in his career that urge violence against Asians and Jewish music executive Jerry Heller.
In the track "No Vaseline" from the 1991 album Death Certificate, Ice Cube called Heller a "white Jew" and "cracker."
"Get rid of that devil real simple. Put a bullet in his temple," he rapped.
In "Black Korea," the rapper threatened to "burn" Asian-owned stores "to a crisp" over perceived racial profiling. He referred to the store owners as "little Chinese motherfucker[s]" and "Oriental one penny countin' motherfuckers."
Rioters in Ice Cube's South Central Los Angeles neighborhood looted and burned thousands of Asian-owned convenience stores the year after the Rodney King verdict.
The associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center called for a boycott of the album at the time, saying that Ice Cube's lyrics "threaten and promote violence" against Asians and "call for the murder" of Heller.
The NFL and Ice Cube's group did not respond to requests for comment.