The Philadelphia Eagles cut ties with long-time receiver DeSean Jackson 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.
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 told Stephen A. Smith how his gang ties 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 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.
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.