Palestinian-American lineman Oday Aboushi drafted by his hometown team, the New York Jets

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
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Oday Aboushi (Aboushi’s Facebook page)

Sami Kishawi at Sixteen Minutes to Palestine has the full story on Palestinian-American Oday Aboushi who was drafted last week by the New York Jets in the NFL draft:

Offensive lineman Oday Aboushi from the University of Virginia was selected by the New York Jets in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday, making him one of the first Palestinian-Americans to play in the NFL.

Aboushi, a Brooklyn native, performed exceptionally well both as a student and as an offensive and defensive lineman when he attended Xaverian High School. Intent on challenging himself academically, he chose to attend the University of Virginia which is known for its academic reputation. There he played for four years, starting over three dozen games and earning a selection to the first team All-ACC squad. He graduated in the winter with a degree in sociology.

Standing at 6’5” and 310 pounds, Aboushi is known for his ferocity and good blocking instinct on the field. The Jets will hope to utilize him in protecting the pocket.

Aboushi comes from an arguably unique background. He is the ninth of ten children born to Palestinian parents who immigrated to New York from their town of Beit Hanina in the occupied West Bank. Aboushi speaks English and Arabic.

He is also a devout Muslim, one of very few in the NFL. During Ramadan, which fell every year during training camp season at Virginia, he fasted from sunrise to sunset every day. He was one of almost a dozen Muslim athletes honored by the U.S. Department of State for his contributions in 2011. [Read more…]

odayaboushi smOday Aboushi  Sixteen Minutes to Palestine
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Oday Aboushi
About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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11 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    May 1, 2013, 5:02 pm

    i recommend the comment thread over at Sami’s. it’s really a tear-jerking experience reading all the congratulatory sentiments.

  2. marc b.
    May 1, 2013, 5:19 pm

    annie, he’s an offensive lineman, not a linebacker as you identify him in the headline. two different positions. small point. is it true that there are few devout muslims in the NFL as the article says? that surprised me, given the number of black muslims in America.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 1, 2013, 6:26 pm

      thanks for the heads up marc. re your “few devout muslims” question, i didn’t do my own research on that specific point (read wapo, fox, espn tho, sami’s report was the best) although i completely trust sami’s reporting. he also wrote Special thanks to everyone involved in gathering information on Palestinian-Americans in the NFL at the end of his article so i assume he did his homework. plus, his report was picked up by i’d imagine if it wasn’t accurate on this point it would have set off red flags by now, his report was originally published Apr 27th.

  3. biorabbi
    May 2, 2013, 12:36 am

    Awesome. The level of athletic commitment and training in today’s world raises the bar for anybody to get into the NFL. Look at how fast these guys run a 40 yard dash, or lift compared to even ten years ago. As for his measurements. He’s 6 foot five and over 300 pounds but, in the pictures, I see absolutely no fat. No one is born that good. It took unbelievable hard work. Unlike other NFL players, he appears to be quite smart as well.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 2, 2013, 1:43 am

      yeah, friggin awesomely—gorgeous.

    • Dan Crowther
      May 2, 2013, 12:15 pm

      ” Unlike other NFL players, he appears to be quite smart as well.”

      Athletes (football players especially) are probably the one remaining group of people you can bash without any social sanction. Bio is wrong of course:

      As someone “on the left” I notice a lot of this condescension towards sports and athletes, and it’s a crying shame. Athletes are a huge underserved organizing community with massive potential to change things.

      • marc b.
        May 2, 2013, 4:01 pm

        dan, sports is one of my favorite forms of entertainment, and my kids have been involved for years. (yes, i’m one of those over agitated parents at the 5th grade girls basketball game.) but my impression of professional athletes is generally negative: self-important, sexist, ignoramuses, in my opinion. I do feel sympathy for athletes as an exploited class though. back when I cared more about such things I spent weeks reading about college athletics programs and efforts and arguments about unionization of college athletics. but that’s a slightly different topic.

  4. dbroncos
    May 2, 2013, 4:02 pm


    Discussions about intelligence in football players often exposes popular American conceptions about race. It’s hard to miss the commentators on ESPN and elsewhere, many of them former players themselves, exposing their prejudices and attitudes about racial stereotypes. White commentators ( i.e. Boomer Esiason, Steve Young) will frequently refer to “smart” white players and “athletic” black players. This is especially true with the quarterback position. The best white quarterbacks are “smart”, “extermeley smart” or “field generals” while the best black quarterbacks are “running quarterbacks”, “quick”, “fast” etc. The praise they give to the best playermakers, white or black, almost always breaks along these lines. In keeping with this prejudice about intelligence/athleticism, black players and especially black quarterbacks are more often faulted for making “poor decisions” or even “stupid decisions”. The “stupid decisions” judgement also comes into play when the character or morals of the black player in question is the topic of conversation based on his off the field conduct. White players who get into trouble off the field will more often get a “boys will be boys” pass, or if they are harshly judged for it the commentary will be brief, without as much piling on or repetition about “stupid decisions” Black commentators (i.e. Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin) will mention more often the intelligence of the best black quarterbacks and are less judgemental about the character of players, both white and black, based on what they do on their off hours.

    Racial prejudice on TV and radio “sports talk” is mild compared to what it use to be and I think it’s getting better as time goes on. Sports talk is always interesting to me, partly because it’s one of the few broacast forums in which race relations are being discussed every day, if indirectly for the most part.

    • Dan Crowther
      May 3, 2013, 9:46 am

      Broncos –

      Yeah, I hear a lot of that sht here in Boston. Dustin Pedroia is “gritty” and “scrappy” while a guy like Manny is “gifted”, a “physical specimen” – it’s like that across the board. I always say if Troy Brown was white (WR for the patriots when they won the SB’s, played both ways, awesome person) they’d have a monument to him downtown.
      Or in other words, he’d get the Jason Varitek treatment.

      On any nice day pretty much anywhere in the country, people get together to play sports, pickup basketball, soccer etc etc. spontaneous and free association of like minded people; I play downtown on the Fens, most nice days there’s fifty players out there – the only people who come up to talk about organizing in anyway are the jesus freaks. like i said, a crying shame. Tell a SJP to hold a three on three tournament, that would definitely help get the message out!

  5. just
    May 2, 2013, 4:28 pm

    Wah- hoo- wah, Oday Aboushi!

    Congratulations to a beautiful man and athlete.

  6. Ira Glunts
    May 4, 2013, 11:39 am


    One thousand thanks for the heads up.

    It would be great if Oday makes the team. It would be a bright spot in a possibly long and difficult season for this big Jets fan.

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