By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Julian Edelman says he’s not “a cancel culture guy.” His own history of addressing athletes who have made anti-Semitic remarks backs up that claim.

Still, in the case of Jon Gruden and his racist, sexist, and homophobic comments that led to his resignation as head coach of the Raiders this week, Edelman understood why such a move was necessary.

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“You know what? We’re trying to gain inclusivity in our league,” Edelman said on “Inside The NFL” on Paramount+. “We’ve been trying it with every form of background, sexuality, women — we have women coaches now, referees. And when you have a leader and one of the biggest faces in our league have stuff like this come out, I mean, was I surprised [that Gruden lost his job]? I wasn’t surprised because 70 percent of our team, our guys, are Black men. And when you have your head coach, the guy who’s supposed to set the example — and I’m not a cancel guy. I’m not a cancel culture guy. I’m all about the conversation. But if it keeps on coming out that there’s more and more and more, I think it’s just not acceptable.”

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Late in his career, Edelman reached out to receiver DeSean Jackson after he posted wrongly attributed Adolf Hitler quotes, and NBA player Meyers Leonard after he uttered an anti-Semitic slur on a live stream. Edelman said that in general, he’s more about bridging gaps and educating than he is about people facing immediate and serious consequences.

Edelman said, however, that Gruden’s situation is not like that, because there’s no way that Gruden couldn’t have known that what he said was wrong, offensive, and hurtful.

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“I took that approach because it’s about having a conversation for people that don’t understand what they said,” Edelman explained. “Now this is, I don’t know Jon Gruden personally, I’ve never met him. But it’s a different situation here to think that what he said, he didn’t know that what he was saying would offend someone. The cases that I’ve gone through with DeSean Jackson and Meyers Leonard, they said some offensive things about the Jewish people and our culture, which I didn’t think that they understood what they said would make the impact and hurt as many people as it did. … It was to allow people to know, hey, I don’t know everything about you, you don’t know everything about me. And that could hurt my feelings, this could hurt your feelings — why don’t we have a conversation so we all can grow?”

CBSBoston.com Staff