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DeSean Jackson’s high school coach comes to his defense.

  • Jim Racalto
Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys


Amid rumors that former Philadelphia Eagles’ receiver DeSean Jackson was released because he has connections to gangs, several people have begun to speak out in his defense.

First, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted a picture of himself and Jackson when they played youth football together, and told everyone not to judge Jackson’s individual character. Now, Jackson’s high school coach, Raul Lara, is completely dismissing claims that Jackson is in a gang, or has ties to one.

Via PFT:

“Gangbanger, what the hell is that about? He’s not a gangbanger. All I was saying was that it was a tragic part of his life when his father died,” Lara said. “He’s not a gangbanger, I don’t know where they’re getting that from, and I didn’t say that he was. I was close with his dad and I know that when his dad passed it really hit him.”

While it is hard to believe the Eagles would release a talented player coming off a career year on just a rumor, to me this seems like a precaution. The NFL is one of the few jobs a person can have where the people they associate with will directly affect decisions made on his employment.

It is likely that Jackson may have some friends that could be considered the “wrong crowd”, but he’s never been arrested and has a clean record. If people like Jackson’s former coach and school counselor are vouching that he was never involved with gangs, I am inclined to believe them, because the fact that Jackson has never been in trouble speaks for itself.

It remains to be seen where the star receiver will play in 2014, but at least a third of the league has inquired about his services and he has several visits lined up this week.

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Jim Racalto

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