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C-R-I-P-S CRIPS!
April 4, 2014 9:44 AM   Subscribe

On March 28th, the Philadelphia Eagles released one of the NFL's most talented players, wide receiver, DeSean Jackson. According to NJ.com, "the Eagles' apparent decision to jettison Jackson likely had little to do with his performance on the field or a big-money contract that was slightly squeezing the team's salary cap." Rather, the Eagles cited Jackson's alleged "gang ties".

Much criticism has been directed at the Philadelphia Eagles for their alleged smearing of Jackson. Mike Freeman wrote that "DeSean Jackson Is a Jerk, but Philadelphia Eagles Are the True Villains."

Seattle Seahawks Wide Receiver Richard Sherman notes the racial double standard:

"The Seattle Seahawks get it. The Philadelphia Eagles apparently do not. This offseason they re-signed a player who was caught on video screaming, "I will fight every n---a here." He was representing the Philadelphia Eagles when he said it, because, of course, everything we do is reflective of the organization. But what did they do to Riley Cooper, who, if he’s not a racist, at least has "ties" to racist activity? They fined him and sent him to counseling. No suspension necessary for Cooper and no punishment from the NFL, despite its new interest in policing our use of the N-word on the field. Riley instead got a few days off from training camp and a nice contract in the offseason, too."
posted by MisantropicPainforest (33 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Seems like the post is saying something other than what specifically happened re: the Eagles' statements? I feel like maybe there's a better way to frame this, and to some extent it needs to not be a "here's a post about a contentious situation, and now here are my specific opinions about that sitaution" thing in the thread in any case, MP. -- cortex



 
The text of the FPP is a little misleading. The Eagles never officially cited Jackson's alleged gang ties -- an anonymous source within the organization said it played a factor. It's not like they cut him and put out a press release that said he had gang ties.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:59 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


There was considerable speculation that Jackson was on the trade block before the nj.com article came out, and that 2014 was always going to be his last year on the team. The nj.com article might have tanked his trade possibilities, making outright release the only option, but Jackson's place on the Eagles was by no means secure. From a March 5th article about Jackson's place on Kelly's Eagles:
For a variety of reasons, mostly financial, Jackson’s days with the Eagles are likely numbered. His salary this year jumps to more than $10 million and remains over $9 million annually through 2016. His lithe body frame doesn’t really fit with coach Chip Kelly’s preference for big bullies. And despite his world-class speed, Jackson isn’t an irreplaceable piece of Kelly’s spread offense, which also features NFL leading rusher LeSean McCoy and rising tight end Zach Ertz.

Although he’s not nearly the malcontent who, by his own admission, handled his 2011 contract dispute with poor judgment and petulance, Jackson remains an enigmatic figure for a head coach who is agitated quickly by me-first behavior.
posted by gladly at 10:02 AM on April 4


The Eagles press release was 2 sentences and no one from the organization has officially used the word "gang." It only came out through the article, which the Eagles were notified about 2 days before they released Jackson.

I'm an Eagles fan and I'm not up in arms about the move. I would not describe DeSean Jackson as one of the "most talented players" in the NFL. He's a burner, and when he makes an impact play it's exciting. But he's 5'10" and doesn't have the hands or ball skills of a modern #1 receiver (think Larry Fitzgerald or Calvin Johnson). He's not the kind of consistent receiver who you can really rely upon. And in his attitude (particularly in the 2011 season when he openly quit on the team) he had lost the Philadelphia audience that had really embraced him when he first came here. So ... it's not that I'm happy, but I pretty much understand.
posted by graymouser at 10:02 AM on April 4


And you think that leak was coincidental? The Eagles went the shameful route - they wanted to get Jackson off the payroll, but they didn't want to trade him, or see him go to another team, so they tried to poison the well and socially blackball him.

Which is why it's good to see it blow up in their faces.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:04 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


I caught a great bit with Stephen A. Smith on Arsenio where he talks about the problem with "gang ties."
posted by nathancaswell at 10:05 AM on April 4


Why would the Eagles not want to trade him? He's going to another team anyway: as it happens, a division rival. Which is pretty much the worst possible outcome.
posted by selfnoise at 10:07 AM on April 4


they wanted to get Jackson off the payroll, but they didn't want to trade him

Yeah, this makes no sense. When you trade a guy you get draft picks or a player in compensation. When you cut a guy you get nothing. If they could have found a trade partner who was willing to pick up Desean's existing contract, they would have.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:09 AM on April 4


The gang ties are an excuse. If the real reason for this is anything but a personal hatred between Jackson and new (as of last year) head coach Chip Kelly, I'll be shocked. They didn't get along from the start, they had a year to try to make it work, they still can't stand each other, so now Jackson isn't wearing green anymore.

(Also, if you cut a player and then Dan Snyder hires him, that means you made the right call. I have ample evidence for this.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:09 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]




He's not top tier but he's a valuable player. And yet there was little interest around the league in signing him outright, and no trade interest.

My sense is this was partly a clubhouse move, partly a question of the type of player he is, as graymouser notes, and partly a question of whether there is another shoe that's going to drop on the gang stuff. Were any of these enough to basically walk away from him? Probably not, but together they added up to a team liability. Kelly has a right to shape the team he wants on the field and in the clubhouse.

I don't get why they would smear him. If you want to get rid of a player, you make sure you get NOTHING for him?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:11 AM on April 4


And you think that leak was coincidental? The Eagles went the shameful route - they wanted to get Jackson off the payroll, but they didn't want to trade him, or see him go to another team, so they tried to poison the well and socially blackball him.

If this turns out to be remotely true, the irony will be palpable - it may not have been Kelly's time, but this is still the team that went out of its way to sign a convicted dog killer as quarterback.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:12 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Two most interesting things about this post:

1. Learning the Richard Sherman has been moved to Wide Receiver, and

2. Somehow there is no mention of the fact that the most dysfunctional and embarrassing franchise in the NFL ponied up $16m in guaranteed money to a player that is such a problem that his own team let him walk away after a productive year. This is just example #4281 of what a pathetic joke the Washington football team is.
posted by dios at 10:14 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Sherman played a little WR in college. Don't think he's moving back from corner anytime soon.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:16 AM on April 4


This is just example #4281 of what a pathetic joke the Washington football team is.
Crips Release DeSean Jackson Over Concern About His Affiliation with Washington Redskins Organization

posted by gladly at 10:18 AM on April 4 [8 favorites]


I messed up Sherman's position. Ooops.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:19 AM on April 4


I don't get why they would smear him. If you want to get rid of a player, you make sure you get NOTHING for him?

That makes no sense to me either. More likely, other teams (who heard the same media reports we did about Jackson getting benched for not showing up at meetings and the like) saw that the Eagles were willing to let their star WR go for a song, and inferred that he was either uncoachable, doing serious damage in the clubhouse, or both.

Thus, perfect for Washington.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:19 AM on April 4


nathancaswell: "The text of the FPP is a little misleading. The Eagles never officially cited Jackson's alleged gang ties -- an anonymous source within the organization said it played a factor. It's not like they cut him and put out a press release that said he had gang ties."

It's more than a little misleading.
posted by zarq at 10:20 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


I don't get why they would smear him. If you want to get rid of a player, you make sure you get NOTHING for him?

It only makes sense if they tried to trade him, couldn't find a partner (probably cause everyone realized they were desperate to get him off their books and would cut him anyway), cut him, then leaked the gang stuff to quiet their fan base who would eat them alive otherwise for cutting such a talented playmaker. Jackson's very popular in Philly, and rightly so. Whatever else he is in the locker room or in his personal life, he's an electrifying football player. Yes, he's little, and no he doesn't go over the middle or block, but he's an electrifying talent.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:20 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


I don't think we have enough information to really judge what's going on here. This could be a scuzzy personal grudge or it could be another Aaron Hernandez situation.
posted by Justinian at 10:25 AM on April 4


Jackson's very popular in Philly, and rightly so.

Oh come on, don't you remember late 2011 when stores couldn't get rid of his jerseys at half price? He's been heavily criticized here – I'd say up until he was cut, he was at best controversial here. Some people were still in love with him as a burner (and we'll always love the Miracle at the New Meadowlands), but a lot of people had strong reservations about his size, his lack of versatility and his attitude.
posted by graymouser at 10:27 AM on April 4


it could be another Aaron Hernandez situation.

Oh. So one mealy-mouthed, evidence-free smear of a black player by some coward who didn't even have the courage to put his name on it is the same thing as someone who has been arrested and charged by the police with multiple murders? Awesome.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:28 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


What part of "we have no idea what went on here" was unclear?
posted by Justinian at 10:29 AM on April 4


The Eagles went the shameful route - they wanted to get Jackson off the payroll, but they didn't want to trade him

What I heard is they did want to trade him. Nobody was willing to deal, because in a trade, you have to pick up the contract. There may be other issues, but the contract was most problematic. It was a 5 year $48M that was backloaded, so his salary cap hit increased over the term. To keep Jackson, they would need to pay $10.5M, and eat a $12.75M salary cap hit, if they traded him, the team that took him would have had to eat it.

It should be noted that DeSean Jackson signed with Washington or a three year $24M contract, $16M guaranteed. I don't know how it's structured -- singing bonus and incentives that are likely to be met are, in terms of salary cap, spread across the whole term, but I don't know what the guaranteed salary terms are. The word is that it is a simple contract, which implies $8M a year and $8M salary cap hit, which is a big difference than $10.5M/12.75M.

The salary cap is a *HUGE* deal. There are players released every year because of it -- esp. when stupid management (Looking at you, Jerry Angelo) signs contracts with backloaded salary cap hits.* It was fascinating to see the Bears, already dealing with little room under the cap, sign Jay Cutler to a hugely front-loaded deal. That made the 2014 cap much more problematic to meet, but made the 2015/2016 caps much *easier* to deal with -- and that's when they'll have to resign Brandon Marshall and Alston Jeffrey. Well, and theoretically Matt Forté. The Bears caught a break when the 2014 cap turned out to be much higher than expected, and they did renegotiate part of Culter's contract to free up $4M this year at the cost of $2M the next two years.

* Though spreading out the load by using signing bonuses can bit you as well. If you cut a player, any bonus that would affect future years hits the cap the year you cut them -- this is called "dead" money, because it will be on the cap whatever you do. Players cut before June 1st have that apply to the current season, after would apply to the next season.
posted by eriko at 10:30 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


As for "gang ties," we have thankfully not stooped to criminalizing that yet, though there are those who want to.

For many NFL players* who grew up in poorer neighborhoods, I'm sure they have childhood friends who are or have been involved in gangs. If rising above that and succeeding anyway is a bad thing then America is completely broken.

*Or anyone for that matter, since NFL players actually don't commit crimes or go to jail any more often than the population as a whole, despite the race-baiting you may hear on talk radio.

posted by drjimmy11 at 10:30 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Further reading

Barnwell landed at the same hypothesis: his cap number was unpalatable, even for a team not in cap trouble, so they needed an excuse to let him walk without getting raked over the coals by their fanbase. So, rather than show the guy a modicum of respect and let him go early in free agency, when he could have cashed in on teams eager to spend the money burning holes in their pockets, they waited until April and "accidentally" let slip the fact that someone, somewhere had fears that he had "gang affiliations" (more on that from Slate today). I am not DJax's biggest fan, but even I acknowledge that he deserved a lot better than this.
posted by Mayor West at 10:33 AM on April 4


"we have no idea what went on here", but we also have no evidence that DeSean Jackson murdered a bunch of people. So I don't know why that's floated as a reasonable possibility.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:33 AM on April 4


That's not a reasonable probability. What's a reasonable probability is that since the Aaron Hernandez situation teams are becoming a lot more concerned with their players off-field associations and activities.
posted by Justinian at 10:36 AM on April 4


Wow, so supposedly the very same Philadelphia Eagles that hired Mike Vick has a moral conscience?
posted by mikelieman at 10:40 AM on April 4


Which is a pretty big shift in the, ahem, goal posts from this: "This could be a scuzzy personal grudge or it could be another Aaron Hernandez situation."

And anyway, as Sherman says, the Riley Cooper situation shows that teams are only concerned with certain players' off field activities.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:40 AM on April 4


Martin Frankel was nowhere near the scene of the crime when, in October, 2001, Enron, at that time America's 7th largest corporation, reported a $638 million third-quarter loss and disclosed a $1.2 billion reduction in the value of shareholders’ stakes, prompting the Securities and Exchange Commission to begin an inquiry into the firm’s accounts

The men, Kenneth Lay, Rick Causey, Andrew Fastow and Jeffrey Skilling, responded to the SEC investigation by going into damage control, and continuing to attempt to hide the manipulation of investors' accounts and funds.

Martin Frankel was not part of the case," a spokesman for the SEC said. "He was not a charged defendant. He was not a witness."

Frankel was, however, associated with the financial elite in the Tri-state area, and knew at least one of the folks charged with the Enron scandal.

Strangely enough, however, it appears Frankel was also affiliated with the street gang: The Crips [Frankel is shown here throwing the typical "C" gang sign or "set".]
posted by Debaser626 at 10:43 AM on April 4


What... what does Frankel have to do with the Eagles?
posted by Justinian at 10:46 AM on April 4


And what is the association? We don't know, but we know it's more than "childhood friends who are or have been involved in gangs" so the concern trolls can put that one away. The dude that was arrested WORKS for Jackson, he's an artist on Jackson's record label. They are current business colleagues. Again, that's not illegal, but it doesn't have to be. Pro sports have a legit interest in policing the associations of their players - they reflect on the team and the league. Do they do a great job of this? No. Is Riley Cooper an asshole? Yes, indeed he is. But the cases are different, and the contexts - yes, beyond just skin color -- are different.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:48 AM on April 4


What... what does Frankel have to do with the Eagles?

I'm guessing absolutely nothing, it's just a demonstration of how silly it is to go making accusations of gang affiliation based on photos of people's hands in particular positions.
posted by LionIndex at 10:50 AM on April 4


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