NFL Today's James Brown on antisemitism: Hate is a virus that kills

His statement comes following NBA star Kyrie Irving's recent promotion of the film "From Hebrew to Negros: Wake Up Black America," which promotes antisemitism and Holocaust denial. 

 US rapper Kanye West (C), attends the Givenchy Spring-Summer 2023 fashion show during the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week, in Paris, on October 2, 2022.  (photo credit: JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)
US rapper Kanye West (C), attends the Givenchy Spring-Summer 2023 fashion show during the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week, in Paris, on October 2, 2022.
(photo credit: JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)

"Hate is a disease. It is a virus that spreads and kills," said NFL Today host and career sportscaster James Brown in an address to his audience on Sunday. 

Brown's statement, a concise 2-minute soundbite, was shared on Twitter on Sunday by @NFLonCBS.

His statement comes following NBA star Kyrie Irving's recent promotion of the film From Hebrew to Negros: Wake Up Black America, which promotes antisemitism and Holocaust denial. 

"Hate is a disease. It is a virus that spreads and kills."

James Brown

Brown also touched on the wider scope of antisemitism's rise in recent years across all aspects of society. "We all know the championships are overwhelmingly won by those who display teamwork and togetherness," said Brown. "But, there is a serious threat to that principle today with the frightening rise in antisemitism in particular - hate, in general. And we're seeing that contagion not just in sports, but [in] music, politics and across society."

 Oct 29, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) argues a call in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center. (credit: WENDELL CRUZ-USA TODAY SPORTS) Oct 29, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) argues a call in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center. (credit: WENDELL CRUZ-USA TODAY SPORTS)

He went on to state plainly that "hate is a disease. It is a virus that spreads and kills."

Talking about Kanye

The sports commentator also referenced Kanye West specifically, explaining that "to cast doubt on, or to state definitively that the Holocaust did not happen - that's as hurtful and wrong as saying the lynching of Black people didn't happen, or that being enslaved was a choice." West famously opined that slavery was a choice in the fall of 2018. 

To further enforce his point, Brown specified that those in the spotlight must be held responsible for their words. "To perpetuate hurtful and false narratives, to refuse to disavow bigoted messages and to fail to take responsibility when one's actions and words inflict harm, is simply unacceptable," Brown said. "Words do matter, especially coming from highly visible people. Their words influence people's attitudes and behaviors."

A Harvard University graduate, James Brown is an influential figure himself, approaching 40 years in the sports broadcasting world. He has been the host of the CBS pregame show NFL Today since 2006 and was the host of Fox Sports' NFL pregame show Fox NFL Sunday for 11 years prior. 

Brown concluded with a prayer that "those with hearts of teamwork, togetherness and love will speak more loudly and persuasively to prevail against this viciousness. No matter how idealistic this may sound, it is the truth – because that is how we defeat hate."