Says Tyler Tynes on Deadspin.com:

In 2014, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly released the 27-year-old DeSean Jackson two years into a five-year extension.

The news baffled me—well, it broke me is more appropriate. Team officials were reportedly concerned about Jackson’s off-field behavior. It was alleged that Jackson had a bad attitude, that he missed team meetings, and that he had gang ties. It was a curious revelation. One of the most exciting NFL talents of the decade, coming off an 82-grab, 1,332-yard season, was being framed as a distraction—and therefore expendable by a new coaching staff—in part because of the people he knew and the neighborhood he claimed. Jackson denied he was involved in any gang activity, or that he had any gang affiliation. But the damage was done. He was no longer the dazzling spark that once set Philadelphia ablaze. Suddenly, he was a bad influence and, just like that, he was gone.

The reports seemed absurd and indicative of the complicated nature of fandom when it comes to black athletes. In one moment, Jackson was heralded; in the next, he was a figure to be feared. He didn’t conform to our ideas of what athletes should look like and how they should behave. In Philadelphia, he appeared in a basement cypher with Vick, Meek Mill, and T.I. He taunted cornerbacks and played with an audacious attitude. Rather than make Jackson an enemy, such behavior was endearing. His popularity was on par with some of Philadelphia’s most recognizable athletes, similar to when Allen Iverson wore mink coats and matching durags, or when Lou Williams treated an armed robber to a holiday meal at McDonald’s. Jackson made people afraid of the unapologetic, black life he led, and it cost him a job in a city where people were willing to fully embrace his complicated character.

“It was a bittersweet situation,” Jackson told the press this year about his departure. “We all know how I was released.”


About admin

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply