NEW YORK (AP) - New York Jets rookie offensive lineman Oday Aboushi, one of the few Palestinian-Americans to play in the NFL, defended himself Friday against a website's article that called him a ``Muslim extremist.''
Aboushi was angered by the story, published Tuesday by FrontPage Magazine, as well other comments in response to the piece.
``It is upsetting to see people try and tarnish my reputation without even knowing me,'' he said in a statement issued by the team. ``But I appreciate all the support I have been getting from people of all backgrounds across the city and country.''
The Brooklyn-born Aboushi, who now lives on Staten Island, was drafted in the fifth round by the Jets out of Virginia. He is one of just a small handful of Palestinian-American players to enter the NFL, including former linebacker Tarek Saleh, former quarterback Gibran Hamdan, and former defensive lineman Nader Abdallah.
Aboushi told The Associated Press in an interview in May that being a Palestinian-American in the NFL was ``an honor'' and added that for being able to ``kind of break that mold and sort of open the door for other people and show them that it is possible, it's a great feeling.''
In the statement Friday, Aboushi again expressed pride in his culture, as well as in being born and raised in the United States and having a chance to play in the NFL.
``As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,'' he said, ``I hope that both sides make peace and live in prosperity.''
The story on FrontPageMag.com said Aboushi's ``latest infraction'' came last month when he was in Virginia and ``gave a speech at a radical Muslim conference sponsored by a group denying Israel's right to exist and associated with blatantly anti-Semitic and terrorist propaganda.''
The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement in Aboushi's defense, saying ``there's a lot of exaggeration and hyperbole in all the talk about'' the player.
``Absolutely nothing in the public record suggests Aboushi is anything other than a young American athlete who takes pride in his Palestinian heritage,'' ADL director Abraham H. Foxman said. ``His participation in a conference organized by the El-Bireh Society, a Palestinian community organization that was until recently defunct, should not be used to tar him as an extremist.''
Foxman added that being pro-Palestinian ``does not mean you're an anti-Semite or an extremist. ... The record simply does not show that Aboushi has crossed that line.''
The Jets, in a statement, said they ``strongly believe in diversity, inclusion and tolerance of others.'' While not directly addressing the issues involving Aboushi, the team added that ``we also encourage all of our employees to use good judgment when exercising their rights to freedom of expression and speech to be certain that they are constructive and respectful.''
The team reports for training camp in Cortland, N.Y., on July 25.

Recent NFL Discussions

2017 Heisman Odds on Wed, Mar 2017 by Blade
College / NBA today on Sun, Mar 2017 by TtomBoBadly
SNOW on Tue, Mar 2017 by Michael Cash
EARLY COLL PLAYS FOR WED. on Wed, Mar 2017 by Timmy1961

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail DeSean Jackson Bucs Prop Odds How many touchdowns will DeSean Jackson post with his new team in 2017? Here's a look at the odds.
Thumbnail Brandin Cooks Patriots Prop Odds How many total receiving yards will new Patriot Brandin Cooks have in 2017?
Thumbnail Alshon Jeffery TD Prop Odds How many touchdown passes and receiving yards will Alshon Jeffery rack up in 2017? Oddsmakers have released projections for the newest Eagle.
Thumbnail Brandon Marshall 2017 Prop Odds How many touchdowns and receiving yards will new Giant Brandon Marshall compile in 2017? Here's a look at the odds.
Thumbnail Pats land Cooks, remain SB favorites The Patriots remain favored to win Super Bowl LII following their blockbuster trade with the Saints for receiver Brandin Cooks.

NFL Team Pages