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Eagles exposed double standard by releasing Jackson

Published 10:23am Monday, April 7, 2014

Here’s the situation: You have a dynamic wide receiver on your roster. He has world-class, game-breaking speed, is an All-Pro kick returner and a three-time Pro Bowler that just had the best statistical season of his young career. What do you do with him?
Well, if you’re the Philadelphia Eagles, you show him the door.
Such is the case of DeSean Jackson, an electrifying speedster enamored with the big play and the big bucks.
Now, given the reason given for his release – the Eagles were concerned with alleged “gang ties” that Jackson, a Los Angeles native had – a lot of questions have come up surrounding this situation.
For example: Why has this just now become a concern?
Don’t get me wrong, if I were Eagles brass I would definitely not want anyone that could poorly represent the organization.
However, Jackson has been in the league for six or seven years.
Before that, he was a draft prospect like so many others, and as we know, the pre-draft stage is typically when NFL people don their CIA hats and dig up any and every single red flag they can find.
So, I find it hard to believe that Jackson’s connections just magically appeared over the course of one or two years.
Now, I have neither seen nor heard any concrete proof that the guy is gang-affiliated. So until otherwise proven, I’ll say he isn’t.
However, growing up where he did, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say he knows someone that is, or knows someone that knows someone that is.
You could probably say the same for the majority of the NFL’s players.
Still, that doesn’t make them shady individuals.
Now, if you ask me, I don’t think Jackson is actually in a gang. Sure, he is chock-full of tattoos, he owns a rap label, and he has flashed “questionable” hand signs in photos before, but I think his biggest problem is that he cares only about himself and what is in his pocket, as evidenced by supposedly expressing his unhappiness just two years into a five-year deal worth anywhere from $48-$51 million.
Sounds like your standard diva wide receiver to me.
If the Eagles chose to cut Jackson because they didn’t like his attitude and felt his antics harmed the team more than it helped, then that would probably be a better reason than something that may or may not exist, depending on which news outlet you believe.
But given their recent handling of the Riley Cooper situation – as well as the NFL’s recent rulings in regards to on-field language (you can check out Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s first-rate piece on that at SI.com for more information) – it reeks of hypocrisy.
Also, let’s not forget this is the same organization that took a chance on Michael Vick, a man guilty of felony charges.
The same organization hired Chip Kelly, who pretty much presided over the University of Oregon’s recent recruiting scandal involving Will Lyles, to coach their team.
As it were, this issue is not going to go away.
It’ll follow Jackson for the foreseeable future, and it will raise speculation on the backgrounds of present and future players, as well as how effective and thorough the NFL’s background checks and conduct policies are.
Long story short, what the Eagles choose to do is their decision. But going forward, it will change how player evaluations take place. And the NFL might realize that Jackson’s “situation” isn’t all too uncommon.
Bailey is sports editor for The Outlook.

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