No Lackin in the Field …

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By Stefan Anderson

After recording 82 receptions, over 1300 yards and 9 touchdowns, you would expect to reign supreme and continue your efforts. Not for Desean Jackson, who was released by the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend.  After his best season as a pro , the Eagles decided to cut ties loose with Jackson due to his hefty contract that would put the team over the salary cap for 12 million dollars. Also Philly believed Jackson’s antics and off the field issues including gang affiliations have caused too much controversy and wanted to stay clear of the excess drama.

The news sparked a lot of attention around the league.

With many teams on the hunt for a speedy, explosive wide receiver with Jackson’s skill set, he became a hot commodity for many teams this past week. Ultimately, Jackson ended signing with Washington Redskins today, the irony. Not only will Jackson get to face his former Eagles twice a year, he will also get help revitalize Robert Griffin III career , pairing up with Pierre Garcon to create a great wide receiver tandem.

But the news of Jackson being discriminated due to his upbringing and company stirred a lot more drama. Especially from media and players, Richard Sherman, yes Richard Sherman again. Sherman is known for not being shy with his words was there to defend Jackson recently. Jackson and Sherman have been friends since their early childhood growing up in Los Angeles and defended his colleague in his sit down with Sports Illustrated.

Sherman commented on the situation by comparisons to recent situations with Riley Cooper and Colts Owner Jim Irsay. “Commit certain crimes in this league and be a certain color, and you get help, not scorn. Look at the way many in the media wrote about Jim Irsay after his DUI arrest. Nobody suggested the Colts owner had “ties” to drug trafficking, even though he was caught driving with controlled substances (prescription pills) and $29,000 in cash to do who-knows-what with. Instead, poor millionaire Mr. Irsay needs help, some wrote.”  

Sherman also stated “This offseason they re-signed a player who was caught on video screaming, “I will fight every n—– here.” He was representing the Philadelphia Eagles when he said it, because, of course, everything we do is reflective of the organization. But what did they do to Riley Cooper, who, if he’s not a racist, at least has “ties” to racist activity? They fined him and sent him to counseling. No suspension necessary for Cooper and no punishment from the NFL, despite its new interest in policing our use of the N-word on the field. Riley instead got a few days off from training camp and a nice contract in the offseason, too.”

Sherman’s comments were very precise and gave a real perspective on quick certain things get passed by in the NFL and also in today’s media. I believe that Eagles cannot judge Desean Jackson based on what they believe he is or who he hangs out with. Of course with Jackson talent you are not going to be shy or sheltered about your play or passion for the game, it just comes with the territory. Every great athlete in the past has always had somewhat of an ego or bravado to them.

I have never heard of any player being racially profiled in such a manner in my entire life of watching sports and I believe it’s ridiculous. I do not want to believe that Eagles released Jackson because they think he is a “crip” and that they really could no longer be able to pay the pro bowl receiver. But it is hard not to believe that when you think about Chip Kelly’s fast paced offense that relies on speed. I will pay anyone who can name 5 receivers that are faster than Desean Jackson, I’ll wait.

Whether the Eagles had to make that pay cut or just did not want Jackson apart of their organization and found any excuse possible shows where today’s NFL is heading. Under the leadership Roger Goodell the league has become stricter and has been a controlled game that could be heading for change for the better or change for the worst, we will be the judge of that. But I do believe that the business should be separated from the personal aspect and let players be humans and NFL robots. Players are always going to have a upbringing that brings them to where they are and it only makes them a better person providing humility and a sense of responsibility to remain a role model for their significant communities. As Sherman went on say, ”I won’t apologize for that, and I suspect neither will DeSean when he’s back on the field doing what he’s always done: grinding through adversity.”

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