Jackson moves to dismiss report that he had gang ties.
Washington Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson has spoken out regarding the recent speculation over his alleged off-the-field connections, with certain sections of the media suggesting that he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles because of his “gang ties”.
In an exclusive interview with ESPN, the 27-year-old said that he is not a gang member and he believes the report from NJ.com was wrong and disrespectful.
While the general consensus over his release from the Eagles was that it was based on his “work ethic and attitude” as well as salary cap issues as opposed to any gang ties, the report did receive significant coverage.
It was claimed that Jackson had alleged gang connections in his native California, and that he was associated with Theron Shakir, one of two men charged with murder of a 14-year-old who police said was shot after he flashed a rival gang sign to Shakir and another man.
Jackson was keen to stress that while he grew up with Shakir, he had no connection to the incident and is not involved in any negative things off the field.
“I actually got a chance to hear about [the NJ.com report] before it came out,” Jackson said, as reported by ESPN. “Got a call before it came out. My agent called. How do I feel about NJ.com? From my point of view, it was very disrespectful. I don’t think it was right — straight up.”
Asked if he hangs out with gang members, Jackson said, “Not if they’re doing negative things.”
“Do I know people who are involved? Yes,” he said. “I’m definitely aware of and know certain gang members.
“But as far as being affiliated, never have been in one. I’ve always felt I’ve been a product of my environment, but I’ve always felt I’ve wanted to do things the right way.”
Jackson went on to admit that he had a one-way conversation with former coach Chip Kelly over his release from the Eagles, and wasn’t given an actual reason as to why the organisation felt it would be better if they went their separate ways.
Nevertheless, he has now signed a three-year deal with the Redskins, and having revealed the extent to which some of the players went to ensure he signed with the franchise, he will now be fully focused on repaying their faith on the field.