DeSean Jackson Cut by Eagles
DeSean Jackson Cut by Eagles
In an amazing turn of events, the Philadelphia Eagles have released controversial receiver DeSean Jackson. This move makes him the best free agent left on the market, yet the background story may make him unassignable. The Eagles have quietly been trying to trade away their best pass catcher during this off season. The fact that they ended up just cutting him, should tell us a ton about how big of a problem he has been for them. Teams don't just cut very good players for no reason at all, especially when the Eagles could have traded him away for some other valuable player(s). In the coming days, the spotlight is going to get hot for Mr. Jackson. He had better hope these rumors of gang affiliation are just misunderstandings. That is the biggest issue facing the young man, but the Eagles also had an issue with his work ethic and attitude. Those are not qualities you want in a guy for which you are paying top dollar.
In a statement on ESPN, the Eagles stated that they did not trade Jackson to another team since they did not want to shift their problems onto another team. That statement may be partially true, but I think Philly was just covering their own hide. Do you think the Eagles would care if they dumped an allegedly lazy and grumpy gang member on, say the New York Giants? Trust me, they would love to do something like that, especially to a division foe. The fact that they did not try to do just that, makes me think that the gang member story has some real meat to it. If that issue turns out to be mostly true and the Eagles did not disclose their knowledge of it, then the team that ended up with DeSean Jackson may have grounds for a grievance with the NFL. It may sound far-fetched, but the league does not want these character issues to be a common theme in the news. So if one team knows about some criminal activity of a player but fails to divulge it before trading that player, I can see Roger Goodell getting involved. It would basically be a situation where one team is doing a cover up on one of their employees so they can get something for him in a trade.....not a good look for the league.
Even with all this drama surrounding the former California Golden Bear star, there are teams that evidently are willing to sign the guy. Kansas City, Oakland, the New York Jets, and Carolina all have shown a level of interest in the receiver. Oakland has the most cap room to pay Jackson with and likely they have the least problem with his off the field complications. They have been known to sign drama queens before, including Randy Moss. Jackson is a star that is not in question. Off the field issues will make or break any deal that is a possibility. Teams do not like bad attitudes and gang affiliation is frowned upon, to put it mildly.
If this gang affiliation story gets momentum, it could end Jackson's career. The gang members he is associated with has been involved in murder investigations so this is serious deal. These are not just young thugs running amuck with spray paint. When the LAPD, not exactly a bastion of purity themselves, and the Crips are involved with a story, you know there is some bad stuff going on. Jackson's name even being connected with these two organizations is not good. But he has taken photos with some of the gang members, been contacted by the LAPD about murder investigations, and Jackson has flashed the Crips gang sign during NFL games. He is either really careless about the company he keeps or he is in deeper than we know about. If it is the latter, it will become known very soon. Things like this just get bigger and bigger if it is true. The 24 hour sports news channels live for stories like this one. They can fill up weeks of programming with this one story and it is a juicy one.
In my mind, if Jackson is not a member of the Crips, then I would expect him to file a suit against them for defamation of character. Whether he could win such a suit is up for debate, but it would at least show that he is upset with the notion that he is a criminal type. If he does not come out strongly and adamantly say that he is not a gang member, then it looks bad for him. It would say to me that he knows that more is going to come out about this mess.
I know that talent can cover up lots of personal issues in the NFL but murder investigations that mention an NFL player by name can ruin the chances of a player in this day and time. The New England Patriots learned the hard way with the Aaron Hernandez debacle. They either were lax in their background checks on Hernandez or they just brushed it aside since he was so freaking good on the turf. Either way, they lost out on some cash they already paid him, not to mention they lost out on a player that they could have drafted instead of a serial killer, allegedly. If no team picks up Jackson within a week, I would say it is over for him in the NFL. That sounds ridiculous, but after the Hernandez murder investigation, teams have to be much more careful.
I do not know how this will play out but I know who is to blame for all of Jackson's problems. It is not Chip Kelly, Roger Goodell, or society at large. The fault lies with DeSean Jackson himself. The young man is crazy talented and made it to where only .001% of his contemporaries make it to, the NFL. The league gives lectures to young players about criminal activity and off the field issues. Yet still DeSean Jackson, guilty of a crime or not, chose to hang around a criminal element. He can call it being true to his old friends or whatever but the fact is, he is above his old friends, and he went next level. He rose above thug life and above 99% of regular people life. He made it to the top of his craft. If old friends want to change their lives and come along for the ride, that is great. But to let your lessors drag you down from the mountain top is inexcusable.