The Philadelphia Eagles cut ties with Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson earlier in the year soon after it was reported in the media that the Los Angeles native refused to cut his own ties to the gangs he ran with in his younger days. Whilst it wasn't the reason why he was cut by Chip Kelly, a lot of people still believe it gave the Eagles another thing to push him with.
And in an interview with ESPN the Magazine, Jackson has admitted he still associates with folks he refers to as “certain people.” In other words, people with ties to gangs.
Jackson spoke to Stephen A. Smith and mentioned how his links to gangs came about:
"When I was young, I hung out with and knew certain people who were involved in certain things. But at the same time, they knew I played sports, so they supported me in playing sports."
And now, all these years later, Jackson says he feels bound by loyalty to acknowledge these people from the old neighborhood who supported him. That’s why he throws up gang signs during games. He said:
"If I score a touchdown or make a play and my boys at home can see me throwing up the area we’re from, that’s me showing them love. They weren’t fortunate enough to make it where I’m at. All my friends wanted to be in the NFL growing up, but they weren’t able to do that and I was. That doesn’t mean I forgot about them. They’re my boys, I grew up with them, and I’m going to give them love."
Not about that Life
Jackson told Smith that, though he knows people in gangs and associates with them from time to time, he is not himself a member of a gang, nor has he ever been.
After being cut by the Eagles, Jackson signed a 3-year/$24 million contract with the Washington Redskins. He remains in the same division as Philly and will be looking to exact a fair amount of revenge on Kelly's side when they meet in 2014. It will certainly be fun to watch.