Before turning the page to a new chapter of his NFL career, DeSean Jackson has been forced to confront and address his past. The standout wide receiver who spent his first six seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before being released in March denied being a gang member or having any gang affiliation during an interview with ESPN that aired on Friday.
“As far as me being affiliated, or me being a gang member, never not have once been,” Jackson told Stephen A. Smith of ESPN during a taped interview, via The Washington Post. “Never had any affiliation of going out and doing things that is against the law. I always felt that I’m a product of my environment, but at the same time, I’m the guy that wants to go out there and do things the right way.”
Jackson’s comments come after a whirlwind of activity that included him being cut by the Eagles and joining the Washington Redskins. The Eagles’ controversial decision to release Jackson, who was coming off a career-best season with nine touchdowns and 82 catches, was announced shortly after NJ.com published a report by Eliot Shorr-Parks and A.J. Perez that outlined alleged connections between Jackson and suspected gang members in Los Angeles who have been connected to two homicides since 2010. The 27-year-old Californian denied being a gang member in a statement released hours after being cut by the Eagles and reiterated that denial in his interview with ESPN. Jackson, who grew up in Los Angeles, does not deny that he knows people with gang ties.
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