Can You Strongly Root Against DeSean Jackson Without Hating Him?


The Philadelphia Eagles went into their game against the Washington Redskins with what felt like a lot more at stake than just another divisional game. It was also the first game against former Pro Bowl wideout DeSean Jackson, who had played his first six seasons for the Eagles before being cut during the offseason.

For many, the return of Jackson wasn’t so much a distraction as it was a moment of anxiousness. He wasn’t just coming back to play against the Eagles, he was doing so wearing the colors of a rival team who Eagles fans have a long standing history of animosity towards. So if you combine the ugliness of his exit and the rivalry against the team that he ultimately joined, it’s not a stretch to say that the match-up was indeed personal to an extent, even if it was just football.

From the moment Jackson stepped onto the field, the intensity of the matchup increased. For years, Eagles fans had watched him taunt, celebrate, and dazzle in plays against opposing teams. It felt strange, for lack of a better term, to be on the other side of that.

There were noticeable boos directed towards him throughout the game, and honestly that was to be expected. Regardless of what DeSean accomplished with the Eagles, he burned his bridge with a fanbase that largely spoke out against is release, with offseason interviews like this one.

Considering the on the field persona that Jackson has garnered around the league, those in attendance at Lincoln Financial Field certainly weren’t going to applaud his usual antics that were now directed towards them.  Jackson didn’t feel like he owed the Philadelphia fans anything, so the Philly faithful shouldn’t be required to give him a standing ovation every time he steps foot into the stadium. By aligning with Washington, there will of course be consequences and badmouthing the fanbase (not just the organization) meant that the boos were bound to come out.

The issue is where does one draw the line? Again this is still football, and the week three matchup proved that fans will certainly make it known that Jackson won’t be greeted with cheers for the foreseeable future. In the spirit of fandom and the game, that is all fine. It’s all fun in spirit, and the fact that Washington is such a hated rival makes the boo session that much more enjoyable to partake in.

More from Philadelphia Eagles

Once the attacks start becoming tasteless and personal is when the line gets blurred. For an example of poor judgement in words, search online at any public sports site with a comments section to see just how atrocious sports fans can be. There are a lot of uncalled for words thrown around, and many times its an act of insecurity or just outright envy.

We know DeSean Jackson the football player and DeSean Jackson the celebrity. But we don’t really know DeSean Jackson the person, even if the Eagles’ tried to convince us after his release that he wasn’t exactly a stand-up guy.  You can strongly root against his antics now that he isn’t in Philly–I certainly am–but investing so much personal angst towards him doesn’t make much sense to me.

How could you not utter a few curse words after seeing him on the receiving end of an 81-yard touchdown the other day? You might even think he’s overrated and doesn’t compare to some of the more elite receivers in the game like Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall (hopefully you do think that). We’ve all seen Jackson shy away from routes that went towards the middle, because contact certainly hasn’t been one of his favorable traits in football.

Still, the notion that you have to go from not being a fan, to full on hate is a bit extreme. If anything, even the strongest of fans should consider it a case of “out of sight, out of mind”. Jackson truly isn’t worth dwelling over to the point where you’re showing your own insecurities and ignorance just to take a shot at him. The reality is if you spend so much time steaming about Jackson now, you’ve probably been waiting years to do so. And why?

The Eagles spent the entire first half of the Andy Reid era (the part that was actually the good part) trying to find a wideout of Jackson’s caliber. Sure we had the very brief and equally exhausting Terrell Owens tenure, but DeSean Jackson was the first receiver in years to grow with the team, but he came with his own baggage. As explosive as he was on certain plays, there were plenty of situations where he phased himself out of games. That was an interesting problem to have, but now that problem is in Washington. No need to fret about it, except those two times during the season when Eagles fans have to acknowledge him.

There are way too many things to be optimistic about with this Philadelphia franchise, to waste any amount of time on a receiver that only helped the Eagles to marginal success and isn’t likely to even reach that point in his new home.