Last week NFL wide receiver DeSean Jackson was released from the Philadelphia Eagles despite having one of the best seasons of his career. Reports of alleged gang affiliation were cited to be the reason the Eagles decided to part ways with the 27-year old. Rumors of the Eagles shopping Jackson around for a trade started weeks ago so these reports seemed to come at the perfect timing for them.
DeSean’s former high school AD and former teachers have jumped to his defense disputing the gang allegations. Via CBS Sports:
“DeSean is a great guy — he was a sweet kid when he was in high school, always very polite and respectful with me,” said Debbie Hughes, Jackson’s counselor at Long Beach Poly, according to the PressTelegram.com. “There was no gang activity with him. He wasn’t in a gang. That’s not to say other students weren’t, but DeSean definitely wasn’t one of them.”
Rob Shock, the Poly AD added: “Every single year during his bye week he comes back and talks to the kids and goes to a game. He’s always had a big heart — it just feels like somebody out there is trying to tear him down. … DeSean hasn’t done anything, he hasn’t committed any crimes.”
Former Poly coach Raul Lara was quoted in the NJ.com story as saying Jackson “started to hang around some not-so-good people” after his father died, said his comments were taken out of context and had nothing to do with gang affiliations.
“Gangbanger, what the hell is that about? He’s not a gangbanger,” Lara told the PressTelegram.com. “All I was saying was that it was a tragic part of his life when his father died,” Lara said. “He’s not a gangbanger, I don’t know where they’re getting that from, and I didn’t say that he was. I was close with his dad and I know that when his dad passed it really hit him.”
Although there is no proof that Jackson is a part of any gang we know he has associated with members of gangs. One of his friends Theron Shakir, who has claimed to be a member of the Crips was charged with the murder of a 14-year old rival gang member. NJ.com is also reporting that Shakir is a rapper who goes by the name of T-Ron and has recorded for Jaccpot Records, a label owned by Jackson.
The two were seen in multiple pictures together including the picture Jackson posted below as Shakir sat in jail awaiting trial for the murder of the teenager.
This still doesn’t mean Jackson is in anyway involved in gang-related activity and the media/NFL should not treat him as such. Though he may act like a diva at times he has committed no crimes and has not gotten into any trouble off of the field. The Eagles releasing him might have been the wake up call he needed. Unfortunately what Jackson needs to understand is that when you are trying to get to the next level you have to leave certain people behind, no matter how long y’all have been down. Elevation requires separation. I hope he ditches his gang member friends. They can’t do anything for him BUT bring him down.