Throughout the last few weeks, since discussion of either trading or releasing DeSean Jackson have been opened, one sentiment I’ve heard in person and seen on social media numerous times, is that the Eagles were going to move DeSean Jackson, due to speculation over gang ties and that he was a pain in the ass in the locker room, but they kept Riley Cooper through an incident where he used the n-word in a nasty way that we all have proof of.
Beyond that, Cooper is fresh off of landing a five-year extension (which is really a three-year deal if you factor in his guaranteed money), and this afternoon, Jackson was released.
If you look at it from that standpoint, it would seem that you could make a fair case that the Eagles organization has been involved in a fairly racially charged turn of events. But it isn’t that cut and dry.
Last Summer, many fans-black and white- felt that Riley Cooper should have been released by the Eagles after he made the comments in the video above. Looking back, there’s no way you can defend what Cooper said (I didn’t try to), but I felt like if the team and organization believed that they could work through the issue and still be successful, then Cooper didn’t necessarily need to be released. I fully understood then, and still do now, if you disagree with me. I’m white, and I’m sure in the minds of many African-Americans, that makes my opinion on the matter irrelevant. And I can’t argue with that.
My biggest reasoning for thinking that the Eagles didn’t necessarily need to release Riley Cooper, was that Michael Vick and Jason Avant immediately came to Cooper’s defense. LeSean McCoy wasn’t as quick to back Cooper, but to see two leaders like Vick and Avant (both of whom are African-American) come to Cooper’s defense so quickly, spoke volumes to me.
In the end, the Eagles elected to keep Cooper. Jeremy Maclin tearing his ACL might have been the only reason that Cooper stayed with team, but it paid off. Cooper had a career year, catching 47 passes, for 835 yards and eight touchdown, which turned out to be enough to earn him a five-year extension after the season.
Don’t get things twisted though, the Eagles didn’t reward Cooper for using that disgusting word. If you still haven’t forgiven Cooper, you are more than entitled to dislike him. But Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman weren’t banging down Jeffrey Luries’ door to tell him that they needed to keep Cooper in the fold because him using a racial slur was invaluable to the team.
I think with the exception of the N-word incident, Cooper has been relatively low-profile in his time with the Eagles. Sure, the fact that he wasn’t producing at the same level of a guy like DeSean Jackson made that a bit easier, but was that one incident on the same level as some of the stuff that NJ.com’s Eliot Shorr-Parks reported about Jackson today?
Jackson was, however, associated with Theron Shakir, one of the two men charged with the murder. Along with co-defendant Marques Binns, Shakir is a purported member of the Crips. In addition, Shakir, known as “T-Ron,” is a rapper who recorded for Jaccpot Records, a label owned by Jackson. The two were close enough that they appear together frequently in photographs — including pictures posted by Jackson to Instagram while Shakir sat in jail awaiting trial for the teen’s execution.
The caption?“Free Trezzy #Real1 #Jaccpot”
A little over a year after the rising NFL star was interviewed by police about his connection to Shakir, Jackson’s name once again made its way onto the desk of Detective Crosson.
This time, Jackson’s name surfaced as part of an investigation into a 2012 gang-related murder that occurred outside a South Los Angeles business where a party had taken place. The building was owned or leased by a member of Jackson’s family, police said.
During a search of the building, Crosson told NJ.com investigators found several documents belonging to Jackson, including a car title, a gun permit issued in New Jersey and credit-card receipts.
After discovering the documents, Crosson said he made multiple attempts to contact Jackson by phone, but never was able to connect with the wide receiver. Crosson added that Jackson was never considered a suspect in the crime.
Those first two are damaging connections, and according to court records, Jackson has been arrested in his time with the Eagles. You be the judge of how serious of an offense it was, but in my mind, it was just another strike against Jackson. Even if the Banner/Reid Eagles’ regime didn’t feel so, the past mistakes don’t seem to have gone unnoticed by Chip Kelly.
Despite his connections with reputed gang members and police interest in talking to him in connection with two homicides, Jackson’s supporters say he has otherwise comported himself as a model citizen.
Through court records, however, NJ.com uncovered a previously unreported arrest that occurred in September 2009. Jackson was pulled over for having illegally tinted windows, police said, and during the course of the traffic stop, officers said they discovered marijuana in the vehicle.
Jackson was arrested for possession of marijuana while driving, disturbing the peace and operating a car with materials that obstruct or reduce a driver’s view, according to court documents. The marijuana and illegally tinted windows charges were dropped as part of the plea deal and Jackson pleaded guilty to a disturbing the peace charge in April 2010.
Knowing you’ve been asked about connections to gang-members usually doesn’t lead you to throwing up their signs in a game. Apprentley DeSean did just that.
Despite Jackson’s name having come up in connection with two gang-related murders involving Crips, Crosson said police have no hard evidence that Jackson is a member of the gang, which was formed in the late 1960’s and has an estimated 35,000 members across the country. Crosson said, however, the Jackson routinely flashes Crip gang signs in photos on social media — and even on television during an NFL game.
“You don’t want to see anybody throwing up gang signs like he did in the Redskins game last year,” Crosson said. “Those were neighborhood Crip gang signs and he flashed them during a game. He may not be affiliated with the gang, but they don’t [ordinarily] take kindly to those not in the gang throwing up those gang signs.”
In this video, I discuss how the extension of Cooper and release of DeSean didn’t have to do with skin color, but rather that one of them appears to have slipped-up once, and the other has been racking up bad connections and offenses throughout his career.