Recently released Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has denied allegations that he is a gang member.
In a Friday afternoon statement, Jackson, 27, categorically denied an NJ.com report suggesting the Eagles had grown concerned with his alleged ties to Los Angeles gang members linked to two homicides since 2010.
“First I would like to thank the Eagles organization, the Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia for my time in Philly,” said the statement via ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “I would also like to thank coach Andy Reed [sic] for bringing me in.”
“Secondly, 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.
“I work very hard on and off the field and I am a good person with good values. I am proud of the accomplishments that I have made both on and off the field. I have worked tirelessly to give back to my community and have a positive impact on those in need. It is unfortunate that I now have to defend myself and my intentions. These reports are irresponsible and just not true . I look forward to working hard for my new team. God Bless.”
Jackson also took to social media to address the Eagles’ decision to release him. The free agent wide receiver posted a video of himself running on a track, along with the caption, “Steady GRind Move God Got the Plan !! Not Me ...”
The NJ.com report alleges that Los Angeles Police have twice approached Jackson about his potential ties to gang members implicated in local homicides. While Jackson was not directly involved in either alleged murder, police believed that he might have information about his associates who were suspected in the crimes.
In 2010, a man named Theron Shakir was charged in the murder of a 14-year-old boy in Los Angeles. According to NJ.com, Shakir, who is an alleged member of the Crips street gang, was also a member of Jackson’s music label “Jaccpot Records.”
The two men have been photographed together on several occasions, and were close enough that Jackson once posted a photo of Shakir with the caption “Free Trezzy” to his Instagram account. Shakir was eventually acquitted of the murder, and LAPD detective Eric Crosson says Jackson was “cooperative” with the investigation.
In 2012, an investigation into a gang-related murder in Los Angeles revealed that a member of Jackson’s family owned or leased the building where the shooting took place, the report adds. Police also discovered documents allegedly belonging to Jackson within the building. However, attempts to contact Jackson regarding the incident were unsuccessful.
"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’s unclear what effect, if any, that Jackson’s alleged gang ties had on the Eagles’ decision to release him; the organization declined to comment on the report. However, a source connected to the team told NJ.com that officials were concerned with his potential effect on the locker room.
“They are concerned about having him around the younger players,” the source said.