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October 10, 2023 9:49 am

US Sports Leagues, Athletes Condemn Hamas Terror Onslaught, Express Condolences for Israeli Victims


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) is injured while being sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive end Leonard Floyd (56) during the first half at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA on Sept. 11, 2023. Photo: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo via Reuters Connect

Major US sports leagues as well as several professional teams and individual athletes have condemned Hamas’ invasion and terrorist attacks against Israel, where over 900 Israelis have been killed since Saturday.

The National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) both posted statements on their official social media accounts condemning the Hamas onslaught and mourning the victims killed in Israel. The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) did the same in a joint statement while also expressing support for Israel and “[praying] for peace for the entire region.”

The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) published their own joint statement also condemning Hamas’ violence and adding, “[We] mourn the loss of life in Israel … we hope for a time when peace can be achieved.”

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) said, “We remain hopeful for peace in the region and around the world.” Major League Soccer (MLS) noted in a statement shared on social media, “our hearts ache for the families and friends of those who have lost their lives or are missing. We hope that peace, dialogue and understanding will prevail over hate and violence.”

Several teams across leagues — including the New York Giants,  Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia 76ers, New York JetsSan Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, Miami Heat and Miami Dolphins — condemned the Hamas attacks on Israel and said they stand in solidarity with the Jewish state.

Stand Up to Jewish Hate, a campaign started by an organization founded by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, released a statement that was later reposted by Kraft’s NFL team.

The Washington Commanders, owned by Josh Harris, said “we stand with the people of Israel,” and the other teams owned by Harris — the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers — posted the same statements on social media.

The Washington Wizards — the team of the NBA’s only Israeli player, Deni Avdija — expressed solidarity with Israel while Avdija posted a long statement on Instagram about the violence. He said he personally knows some of the victims and that “while I’m here playing ball, my thoughts are constantly pulled back to Israel.” Kyle Kuzma, Avdija’s teammate on the Wizards, posted that his prayers are with Israel.

Former NFL player Julian Edelman and former NBA player Amar’e Stoudemire, both of whom are Jewish, have taken to social media calling for peace in Israel. Edelman, a former Super Bowl MVP, wrote on Twitter that he was “heartbroken” and added: “Forget politics, forget money, forget land. This is hate. An ancient hate we’ve seen before. The Jewish people have survived worse. We will endure. I stand with Israel and against hate.”

Meanwhile, Stoudemire criticized politicians and activists, including supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, who had not spoken out against Hamas. He also advocated for peace and safety for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dean Kremer, who has played for Team Israel internationally and whose parents are Israeli, shared the MLB’s message on his Instagram Stories and added a Hebrew caption, saying, “There are no words. My heart just got ripped to shreds.”

Kremer’s teammates from Team Israel Matt Mervis and Zack Gelof reposted the MLB’s statement. Boston Red Sox pitcher Zack Weiss, who also played on Team Israel, posted an Instagram story about the Hamas violence, and Team Israel coach Kevin Youkilis posted on Instagram a photo of himself wearing his Team Israel jersey with the caption “I stand with Israel.”

In a since-deleted post on X/Twitter, Detroit Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone called on US President Joe Biden to bring Americans trapped in Israel home. Anzalone’s parents were traveling in Israel with a church group when the war broke out on Saturday.

Boston Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla addressed the war in Israel during his pregame press conference on Sunday and said, “There should be a lot of thoughts and prayers” for Israelis.

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