Ever since the story broke, Jackson and the “controversy” around him have brought out the worst in the maiden-aunt-with-the-vapors school of sports journalism.

Leave it to the great Charles Pierce of, a journalist of superior skill and independence, to put the DeSean Jackson affair into perspective:

“The Redskins gave even some of their most loyal fans a bit of a shake by leaping at the chance to sign DeSean Jackson, whose employment with the Eagles was terminated in March in a welter of ill-feeling, innuendo, and a walk through the shadowlands of perception and reality that still exist on any issue that touches on race in this country. Which, of course, is the same place the fight over the Redskins’ nickname has been conducted all these years.

“When the Eagles cut Jackson, a story popped that, in addition to the Eagles’ having been fed up with his work habits, the team was concerned about Jackson’s alleged connections to gang members back in California. Jackson vehemently denied these latter allegations and, indeed, the amorphous nature of them — What does “concerned” mean, exactly? What are “connections,” really? — left the Eagles open to charges that there were different behavioral rules for white and African American players. This seemed especially notable when one considered that the team took receiver Riley Cooper back after a video went viral of Cooper N-bombing away at a Kenny Chesney concert, which, now that I think of it, is just about the whitest way to get in trouble there is.”

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