Money, Gangs and a Sports Fan

BY JOE BARTEL

 

Hypocritical. That’s what this is. The Philadelphia Eagles’ release of DeSean Jackson was and still continues to be one of the worst two-faced decisions made by a professional ball club in the 21st century. His release was a slap in the face of every educated sports fan in America.

The reasons behind the release, at least on the surface, seemed reasonable. Even though Jackson was coming off one of the best seasons as a professional, posting career numbers in yards (1332), receptions (82) and touchdowns (9) he still held an enormous $10.7 million cap number for next year. He was a known locker room disaster in Philadelphia and a me-first player. He was, in essence, a less skilled, less demonstrative Terrell Owens in his prime. In fact those reasons for Jackson’s release are not uncommon in the NFL. What is uncommon was the information “discovered” two hours before the Eagles announced the release of Jackson.

It was reported by a variety of news sources including NJ.com, ESPN and TMZ that some of DeSean Jackson’s associates were linked to multiple gang-related murders from 2010-2012. And when I say multiple, I mean two. Of course this story is an immediate red flag because of the former New England Patriots tight end who is implicated in multiple gang related murders. You might be asking how these news sources uncovered this scandalous story. It was reported that Jackson “may” have flashed a gang sign, which was then tied together with his record label name “Jaccpot Records” which could be loosely translated to an allegation to the Crips gang. Count me as one of the many people in America that has no idea how those two things can be correlated together. It all seems like a fabrication to me.

So let me join the credible news organizations and create my own speculation. Is it just coincidence that the Eagles decided to release Jackson two hours after his alleged gang affiliation was reported? Or did the Philadelphia Eagles have something to do with the leaked information? I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. Although not mentioned in the two sentence statement released by Eagles officials regarding the Jackson release, his potential gang affiliation was reported by Adam Schefter as one of the main reasons for the terminated contract. This was discussed, debated and twisted by every talking sports head in America. All because of some “supposed” links to a gang? I, by no means, have all the information, but neither does anyone else, and frankly it makes me irritated.

You know what’s worse? The Eagles re-signed Riley Cooper, the infamous receiver who once was filmed dropping the N-bomb at a concert, which prompted immense criticism from his teammates. Everyone makes mistakes, even professional football players. I don’t want to harp on Cooper any more than I have to. But if the Eagles released Jackson because of his bad attitude and possible gang affiliations, as the “experts” have suggested, how in the world is it acceptable for them to re-sign Cooper, who caused a two month soap opera in the Eagles locker room with his documented use of the N-word. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

So here is my plea. At the end of the day, I know every decision made by the NFL is a financial one. Riley Cooper was a cheaper option who didn’t piss off his coach. Fine. So why do the Eagles only release a two sentence statement regarding the release of Jackson? Why not be truthful and admit the only reason the Eagles cut Jackson was because of his large salary hit? But then again, why would any professional sports organization ever be honest. Fans, including myself, put their heart and soul into their favorite franchise and are expected to sift through the lies and see the truth for themselves. It’s just not fair. But I know that’s not the kind of world that we live in now. For better or worse, deceit is ingrained in our culture. The only thing we can do, as people, is realize the lies that are trying to be fed to us and come up with our own narrative, our own version of the story. At least that way we won’t be manipulated by anyone but our own imagination.

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