Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism Convenes Commissioners of Major Sports Leagues to Discuss Fight Against Jewish Hate and All Hate
Foxborough, Mass. (January 26, 2024)– This week, the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS) gathered commissioners of major sports leagues together to discuss the rise of Jewish hate and all hate across the nation, and opportunities to combat it using sports as a platform. In the last three months, the United States has experienced a sharp rise in Jewish hate with 3,291 incidents reported, representing an increase of almost 400%. This week’s convening builds upon the momentum of FCAS’ initial convening of sports leaders in October at Gillette Stadium, which brought together over 80 representatives across various leagues and teams. The League Commissioners Convening was hosted at the NFL League office in New York. Robert Kraft, Founder of FCAS was joined by Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), Adam Silver, Commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Cathy Engelbert, Commissioner of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB), Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League (NHL), Don Garber, Commissioner of Major League Soccer (MLS), Jessica Berman, Commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and Steve Phelps, President of NASCAR.
During the convening, leaders heard from experts on the history of Jewish hate in the United States as well as its intersection with other forms of hate and diverse communities standing up for each other, including the Black community. They participated in presentations and discussions by Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism, Bret Stephens, Opinion Columnist for the New York Times, Dr. Michael Lomax, CEO of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The discussion concluded with ideas and opportunities for leagues to engage and work together to join the effort.
“In today’s world, we have seen hate manifest itself in more ways than one, in ways that have brought divisiveness and ugliness to communities across our nation,” said Robert Kraft, Founder of the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism. “As leaders in the sports community, we are uniquely suited to tackle this fight through our platforms. Sports bring people together in a way that nothing else can – to root for one team, and one cause. I am grateful for the willingness of these leaders to come together to discuss an issue that is so close to my heart and for their efforts to stand up to Jewish hate and all forms of hate.”
“The NFL has a strong history of standing up against all forms of hate, including antisemitism, and yesterday’s discussion was valuable in continuing our efforts,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“I want to thank Mr. Kraft and the entire FCAS team for convening this group of distinguished leaders in our industry to listen, learn, and discuss opportunities to work together to combat antisemitism and all forms of hate,” said NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman. “As sports leaders in this country, at a time when discrimination and prejudice are on the rise, it’s our responsibility to stand up to hate, in all its forms, and use our platforms to make our communities welcoming and inclusive places to live, work and play.”
“Sports possess the power to unify communities, cities, and even entire countries in a way that nullifies racial, ethnic, and religious differences,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “Our leagues have large and influential platforms that can and must be used to raise consciousness, bring people together and combat all forms of hate. I was honored to join my fellow commissioners today to affirm our shared commitment to eradicating antisemitism not just on the rinks, courts and fields where we play, but in every place that our games touch.”
“The WNBA takes great pride in being one of the most inclusive sports leagues and stands firmly against all forms of hate, including antisemitism,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “We are committed to working with Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism and believe that sports has the power to unite people from various backgrounds, fostering a sense of community, understanding, and respect. Together, we can build a world where every player, fan and supporter feels valued and included.”
“The leagues represented here today work diligently every day to use the positive power of sport to bring people from all walks of life together,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “Major League Soccer looks forward to working closely with the FCAS and other leaders in sports to continue to use our platforms to stem the rise of hate and advance our values of inclusivity and belonging for all.”
“I applaud Robert Kraft for organizing this meeting with the leaders of the major sports,” said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “There was important conversation regarding the issue of antisemitism and other forms of hate in our society and ways that the leagues can work together to make an impact. We look forward to working together with the others sports to continue combatting all forms of hate and bullying.”
“NASCAR believes in the unifying power of sport to combat antisemitism and all forms of hate,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps. “As sports leagues, we have the opportunity to band together to prevent its spread and through our collective partnerships, including the important work with FCAS, we can effect significant change in our society.”
“Sports are unique in their ability to bring disparate people together around a common interest and can serve as a powerful platform to combat divisiveness and hate,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “And bigotry and prejudice left unchecked — regardless of the impacted community — is corrosive to the very underpinnings of our democratic society and harms all of us, whether or not we are a member of one of these groups. We thank Robert Kraft and the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism for bringing all the leagues together around this critically important issue.”
ABOUT THE FOUNDATION TO COMBAT ANTISEMITISM:
The Foundation to Combat Antisemitism was founded by Robert Kraft in 2019, after he received the Genesis Prize, a $1 million prize awarded to a Jewish individual who has achieved significant professional success. FCAS’ mission is to win the hearts and minds of non-Jews through powerful positive messaging and partnerships, motivating and equipping them to be defenders of and upstanders for Jews as they continue to face antisemitism.