DeSean Jackson was released by the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday. Jackson is coming off a Pro Bowl year in which he caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards and 9 touchdowns. While Jackson is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, the Raiders should look into the reasons of his release before signing him.
According to NJ.com, the Eagles were originally concerned with Jackson's bad attitude, inconsistent work ethic and missed meetings. The Eagles looked into why Jackson was missing so many meetings and found that he was associating himself with people they deemed to be negative influences. The situation quickly took a turn for the worse when it was discovered that Jackson was friends with gang members who were a part of two homicides in Los Angeles.
On December 29, 2010, two members of the Crips gang killed 14-year-old Taburi Watson after Watson flashed a rival gang sign. While Jackson was not a suspect of the case, he was associated with Theron Shakir, one of the men who was arrested and charged with Watson's murder. Jackson and Shakir appeared in numerous photos together on Jackson's Instagram page.
Later in 2012, Jackson was linked to a gang-related murder that occurred in a building owned or leased by a member of Jackson's family. Police found a car title, a gun permit and credit card receipts that belonged to Jackson. While Jackson was not a suspect of the crime, it was the second time his name had surfaced in a homicide investigation.
These are not the only incidents in which Jackson has been affiliated to the Crips. Last year against the Redskins, Jackson threw up the hand gesture of the Crips to cornerback DeAngelo Hall. LAPD Eric Crosson confirmed that the gesture belonged to the Crips:
"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."
It is not the only time Jackson has been shown flashing the signature of the Crips. He posted a photo on Instagram 3 months ago in which he gave the same sign.
In a music video with Snoop Dogg, Jackson made his hands into a C which is another sign affiliated with the Crips. Cops believe that the C was symbolic for the infamous gang.
While Jackson has been connected to the Crips numerous times, he insisted that he is not a member of any gang in a statement he made Friday following his release by the Eagles.
"I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field. I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang. I am not a gang member, and to speculate and assume that I am involved in such activity off the field is reckless and irresponsible."
One aspect of the situation that the Raiders should consider is their location. Oakland is much closer to Los Angeles than Philadelphia. And if the Raiders move to Los Angeles, Jackson's friends are right in his backyard.
DeSean Jackson is one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL. But the Eagles released him for a reason that is non-football related. That alone should concern the Raiders. The Raiders should investigate Jackson's history before making any decisions on the three-time Pro Bowler.