By: Julian Kimble
It began as a joke that Monday. My godbrother and I were having a morning Gchat conversation about the brewing DeSean Jackson saga. Still baffled by why the Eagles would consider parting with one of the most electrifying players in the NFL, we jokingly surmised that it was because the organization suspected he was a Crip. Little did we know, the Eagles would silently hide behind that very claim as a shield for releasing Jackson in just a few days. That’s another joke, one I don’t find amusing in the least. I love being right, yet this was one of the few moments I actually wished I was wrong.
It’s been two weeks since the Eagles cut Jackson, and the move has left a taste in my mouth far worse than your breath after a night of drinking Hennessy or eating a pound of Buffalo wings. Not only was he the Eagles’ best receiver (on the current roster and since Terrell Owens’ mercurial season-and-a-half with the team), he was one of my favorite players in the league. I was overjoyed when the team drafted him in 2008 because it showed their recognition of a need for explosive talent at the wide receiver position to contend.
When rumors about the team’s willingness to part ways with Jackson (which were amplified by team brass’ refusal to dispel them when given the chance), I slowly began to prepare for his departure. What I didn’t prepare for, however, was his release in the wake of a NJ.com article connecting him to gang members. The Eagles had presumably failed at trying to deal Jackson, and probably knew the only way they’d be able to justify releasing a 27-year-old coming off a career season and his third Pro Bowl selection was to do it amidst allegations of his gang ties. This was a frustrating reminder that the NFL is still a business, and, at times, a shady one.
Never forget for one second that the NFL adheres to standard corporate practices, and the Eagles’ handling of DeSean Jackson felt like the typical corporate screw job. If the team decided they wanted to go in another direction, myself and fellow Eagles fans would simply have to swallow that jagged pill. Hell, they cut Brian Westbrook two seasons after he set a then-NFL record for all-purpose yards—the business is ugly like that sometimes. But getting rid of Jackson, then hiding behind rumors of gang connections (which the LAPD shot down) and unconfirmed, abrupt reports of him being a problem child in a post-Aaron Hernandez league is a cowardly low. He’s been in the league for six years and we’re just now finding out that he’s a petulant cancer? Come on.
It’s one thing to move on from someone, but to try and sully their reputation and fuck with their livelihood is a problem, especially when the claims against them are paper thin. Sadly, that’s the way it goes in the corporate world: when your employer decides they don’t want you anymore, they’ll cast you out in the cold and try to make it look like it’s your fault.
It bothers me that so many people point to the silence of Jackson’s now former teammates as proof that his character deserves questioning. Let’s use common sense for a second: if your job fires one of its most valuable employees, would you be eager to place a target on your back and speak out against your employer? The message that no one is safe has been sent. That’s why I applaud LeSean McCoy for supporting Jackson. “I don’t know how honest that would be,” he said of allegations of Jackson being problematic. “It is a surprise. You’ve heard so much, you don’t really know [what's true].” Don’t believe all the talk of Jackson being a “distraction,” especially when the Eagles have dealt with worse.
I’ll be honest: what genuinely bothers me about this circus is that Jackson is gone, yet Riley Cooper is still an Eagle. Last summer, footage of Cooper saying “I’ll fight every nigger here, bro” while wearing the redneck uniform leaked. He was filmed delivering a racial slur in the midst of a threat and insulted not only his teammates, but other members of the organization. I’d implore him to stand up in the locker room and repeat that statement. It’s far more detrimental to the very delicate fabric of team and organizational structure than anything DeSean Jackson was accused of, but what did Cooper get? The chance to apologize while wearing a ponytail of remorse, a fine, a vacation from training camp, and, ultimately, a brand new contract. It’s a classic example of white privilege in action.
Richard Sherman said it best in an essay that needed to be written: “Commit certain crimes in this league and be a certain color, and you get help, not scorn.” Riley Cooper may not have broken a law, but he committed a social crime. Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault on more than one occasion, and though he was punished with a suspension (that was eventually reduced) by the NFL, his employer never dragged his name through the mud. He got “help.” Colts owner Jim Irsay got caught driving recklessly with pills and $29,000 in cash, and, like Sherman wrote, he’s viewed as a victim. Someone else who needs “help.” DeSean Jackson committed no crime, yet will continue to be treated like a criminal.
DeSean Jackson is guilty of two things, with the first being occasional bouts of immaturity. The All-American Bowl fumble, the goal line fumble from his rookie year and the sporadic unnecessary Instagram post are evidence. But what he’s really guilty of is being young, black and successful. As a black man, much of your success hinges on how comfortable white America is with you. Like I was told time and time again at my first job, perception is reality, which means you’re guilty until proven innocent; guilty if people are afraid of you. Hell, people are still mad at Mike Vick, even after he did 18 months in federal prison and lost everything. It’s easy for some to believe DeSean Jackson is a threat, menace or villain because of speculation, his jawing with opposing defensive backs and pre and post-touchdown celebrations. The fact that he’s a black man named DeSean Jackson from Los Angeles makes it even easier.
The Philadelphia Eagles have a history of treating their players poorly. Perhaps their lack of championships is karma, which, as a fan, I’m allowed to say. From Cris Carter to Reggie White to Brian Dawkins, the organization has let players walk away before they should have and under questionable circumstances. But the conditions surrounding DeSean Jackson’s departure might be the worst yet. That’s why I don’t blame him for signing with the Washington Redskins, a division rival. He gets to play with a quarterback that loves to throw the long ball in RGlll, a good possession receiver in Pierre Garcon and a rising young running back in Alfred Morris. He also gets to play the Eagles twice a year.
I’ve accepted that DeSean Jackson is gone, but it’s never going to sit right with me. For six thrilling seasons, I loved seeing #10 split wide for the Eagles. I love watching him streak down the sidelines en route to the end zone, and I loved how he came up big in divisional games. More than anything, I thought he would be a cornerstone of a new era in Philadelphia, part of a core group that would erase the memories of past failures. That’s not going to happen, so now I just want to see him succeed. DeSean Jackson and I are basically the same age, so when I look at him, I see a peer. Hell, I see myself. That’s exactly why I hope he proves people wrong in D.C.—especially the Eagles.
Julian Kimble was too skinny for organized football, but he was a street football Randy Moss as a kid. He tweets at @JRK316.Read more
Sammy was that deal in high school as are most soon to be 1st round draft picks. Enjoy.Read more
What do you guys think of Manziel’s highlight tape?Read more
The rumor mill has been moving faster than DeSean Jackson’s 4.3 40 lately. Out of thin air there were reports that the Eagles would trade D-Jax to the lowest bidder. Well, either they couldn’t find any bidders or they figured they’d just donate to charity, but DeSean Jackson was released by the Eagles today. He’ll play again, because he’s dope on the field, but here are my thoughts.
1. Read this and it’s pretty easy to see why the Eagles released DeSean Jackson.
2. Now read Jackson’s letter after he got released.
“First I would like to thank the Eagles organization, the Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia for my time in Philly. 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.”
3. Innocent until proven guilty, but I’m not stupid DeSean. You can fool some of these white reporters or other people who aren’t as in tune with the black community, but I’m from the hood. My neighborhood was littered with Rolling 20′s Bloods, Shotgun Crips and 107 Hoover Crips. I’ve seen many gang signs and I know why your record label, Jaccpot Records is spelled Jaccpot records.
4. You may not be a Crip and that’s fine, it’s great actually, but you’ve aligned yourself with them. Hell, if you want to run with them fine, go ahead. It’s your life…just don’t make it so damn obvious by throwing gang signs on the field, spelling stuff without a “k”.
5. I’d assume that you’ve had people tell you that you couldn’t do it your entire life. I admire the chip on your shoulder. People said you were too small. They probably called you a trouble maker. They were people that didn’t like your dad being around Cal’s program. You were drafted in the second round when you probably should have been the second WR off the board. You made it, you made it!
Act like it! Everybody can’t come to the top with you. There’s dead weight that must be lost. You can’t tell kids to not bully each other and then be friends with gang members who essentially…bully people.
6. Be a man and accept responsibility for your actions. Right now, you have no one to blame but yourself. It’s not so much the gang that I have an issue with. I’ve got cousins and family members that I love dearly that are in gangs. It’s the fact that you think we are dumb. I’d respect you more if you just owned up and said, I’ve thrown gang signs on the field before and in off the field pictures. I made a mistake and it won’t happen again. But you’re playing us for fools…why? Honesty is always the best policy.
So if you’re not a crip, then listen to Meek Mill,
“Tryna b gangsta is played out ….. Be A king ……. Being head of ya family is gangsta anybody can shoot a gun or do some dumb shit …. Anybody just can’t take care of the family it ain’t a easy job!”Read more
So the Cleveland Browns, who have just been a poorly run organization for quite sometime didn’t go to Johnny Manziel’s pro day this week. Manziel is a widely considered a top 10 pick in this May’s NFL Draft by many experts. So why the hell wouldn’t the Browns go see Johnny Football at his pro day? Here are my thoughts.
1. They Browns brass couldn’t get any flights out of Cleveland? Maybe.
2. The Browns owner has warrants in Texas?
3. No orange of any kind is allowed on the Texas A&M campus.
4. They’ve seen enough film on Jonathan Football and they’ve made their decision and it’s none of our business.
5. Why waste their money because they already know they’re going to draft him.
6. Or..just maybe….just maybe…Bernie Kosar IS walking through that door…
Happy Friday.Read more
The Northwestern football players have done it. They won a judgement against the NCAA and can now be classified as a “worker’s union”. This means they deserve to be paid. Uh oh….The NCAA doesn’t like this and I’m sure they’ll appeal quicker than they can send an email. Here are my thoughts.
1. Right now, this only pertains to the 17 private universities and colleges. The public colleges and universities are going to have set up their own lawsuit if they want to fight the big bad NCAA.
2. I haven’t the slightest clue about government. Ok, I take that back I know a little…very little. I do know that some people love big government and others hate it and would rather their local government run the show. Let’s say the universities are local governments and the NCAA is big government. The state of California is bringing in much more money than the state of Maine, the good thing is that these two states are not competing with each other.
The University of Miami and Florida State University are competing with each other. Miami, private university, money to throw at kids. Florida State, public university, no money to throw at kids. This is not a fair fight. Even if the public universities go through with their own lawsuit and win, more often than not, the private institutions are going to have more money at their disposal than the public institutions.
This is a matter for the NCAA to handle as a whole and not let the schools control it themselves. If the NCAA doesn’t handle the situation, then you could easily have Notre Dame turn into the New York Yankees and the Fighting Irish could just start buying championships.
3. I think it’s hilarious that only 29% of white people think athletes should be paid and 73% of black people think athletes should be paid. You guys are aware that the majority of college football and basketball players are black right?
4. USA Today reports that these student athletes are worth 28k. The athletes deserve to be paid, I certainly feel that way. But let’s be real….NFL players making millions can’t handle their money. I heard stories and know players who’ve had to take out loans during the offseason because they managed to blow through 3 million dollars — in 8 months! Hell, a college football player might run through 28k faster than he can run through the stadium tunnel.
I think a nice solution is to pay players, just not immediately. Setup a trust for student athletes. If 28k is the number, pay them 28k a year…just don’t give it to them. For each year that a player is in school he gets the money put in a trust fund. The only way to get the money is to withdraw from school or graduate. And yes, that money is going to be taxed. Sorry players, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
5. If I hear another person say that college athletes are getting a free education. I might start a petition to annex my bite sized NYC apartment from the union. Just be my own country! People, this is not a free education. Free is something you receive for nothing. They players aren’t getting a free education. They are trading their athletic labor for tuition, room, and board. You try waking up at 5:30am to go workout, then go to class right after, and then go to practice after that, then go to study hall and when you leave from there it’s 10:30pm and you’ve got to be up in seven hours.
6. I have so many questions. I’m curious to see how this affects the rest of the athletic student body. Title IX is a great thing, but let’s be fair — people aren’t paying millions of dollars to watch women’s volleyball. People aren’t paying millions to watch college track and field. They are paying millions to watch men’s basketball and college football. The two big time college sports basically carry all of the other athletic programs on their backs.
If players are paid will there be enough money for those sports to sustain? If the players are considered employees, does that mean they’ll now be taxed? How the hell is this going to work? Maybe we’re being to hard on the NCAA. Maybe they aren’t greedy. Maybe this problem is something they can’t figure out. Like a dirty room they don’t want to deal with and they’re just sweep everything under the bed. Maybe like bad credit and they are just sending all bill collectors to voicemail villas. Ok, yeah….no, the NCAA is greedy. They can play the players, they just don’t want to play the players.
A few years ago I had a dream where college football players around the country just…didn’t play one college saturday. They all came together and demanded to be paid. Silly right. You need a union to go on strike and 17-23 year boys wouldn’t act like men and form such a thing. Really…Northwestern just did and that’s far fetched enough.Read more
I’m growing up. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Here’s the progression of how I digested the information of the NFL banning the touchdown celebration of slam dunking the goal posts.
- This rule is stupid! The NFL is getting on my nerves. They really are the No Fun League.
- What’s the point of banning this celebration? I really don’t understand.
- Oh, Jimmy Graham did break a goalpost last year and it caused a delay. Ok, I get it. If the NFL doesn’t want the problem, then why not just penalize the team if a player breaks the goal post? Maybe, a fifteen yard penalty or hell that team just won’t get to try for an extra point — that’ll really get folks attention.
- I continued to stew in anger towards the No Fun League and then the day while listening to Colin Cowhered, Uncle Colin enlightened me…..
- He stated on his radio show that the NFL didn’t make up this rule to take the fun out of the league. They made the rule to protect the league. Sure you could use my idea and not allow the team to kick an extra point of their player breaks the goal posts. Perfect, right? Hell, throw in a 15 yard penalty too. The world is a better place and the fun is back in the NFL. No….because what if….what if….that broken goal post falls. It’s most likely going to fall forward into the field of play, but what if falls sideways or even backwards? It’s going to possibly fall on fans. Imagine the lawsuits that the player, his team and the NFL are going to face.
So let me think like an owner and not a player for a second. Sure, the dunk celebrations look cool. They’re funny when Veron Davis gets hung on the crossbar. But when Jimmy Graham goes early 90s Shaquille O’Neal and breaks one of those bad boys that’s anywhere from 400 – 1800 pounds falling on fans.
Yeah…let’s ban the slam dunk celebration. Players are only going to get bigger and stronger and sooner or later the inevitable of the goalpost falling into the fans is going to happen.Read more
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was selected by the Texas Rangers in the most recent Rule 5 draft. But Bo Jackson is telling the Superbowl champ to forget baseball and stick to football. Video provided by The FumbleRead more
One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure right? For every beautiful woman in the world, there’s a man tired of looking at her. Well, the NFL combine is a beautiful woman that I’m just tired of looking at.
When the NFL began to televise the combine in 2004. I went bat shit crazy. I called Cox Cable about a gazillion times to see if they could carry the NFL Network. No dice. All I wanted to do was watch my OU Sooner friends compete in the NFL combine. I wanted to see what it was all about. What drills were they doing? Would they show the interviews? What the hell was going to happen, because the combine to me was some mythical thing. It’s been around since the 80s but no one has ever seen it. Is this shit even real? You heard the rumors of Deion Sanders running a 4.2 40, Bo Jackson running a 4.12 40, Reggie White bench pressing Indiana and then holding a prayer meeting for all the NFL teams that didn’t draft him.
When I could finally watch the combine in 2005, it was dope. You got to see what all the hype was about. It was a televised Star Wars convention for football junkies. The 2007 combine was great. You had Adrian Peterson, who’s brother died the night before his workout, perform and demolish his entire workout running a 4.38 40. There was Calvin Johnson who, rumor has it, wasn’t going to run the 40, but was taken over by the spirit of competition and borrowed someone else’s shoes and chopped out a 4.35 40 yard dash at 6’5″ 239 lbs. Oh yeah, he jumped 42.5 inches too.
I was very very very very wrong about Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez. Stafford was too good to throw at the combine, Sanchez said “let her rip!”. I feel in love with Sanchez. I thought he was a competitor, I thought Stafford was soft. The Lions would be crazy to select Stafford over Sanchez right? Well, we’re in the middle of their careers and right now Stafford was the right choice.
I don’t know what it is though. This year, I’m just over it. What is the combine telling me that film already hasn’t? Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the same act for nine years now. Players run, jump, lift, twist, turn, spin, etc. Mike Mayock explains football so eloquently that my African step mother can understand what a zone blitz with a single high free safety is. A no name player becomes the hot new girl on the first day of school. Rich Eisen runs a sub 6.1 40 yard dash. I’ve seen it all before.
If you want to improve the NFL Combine broadcast, open up the doors of those interview rooms. What makes the Patriots great? What kind of questions are they asking? What makes the Browns suck? What kind of questions are they asking? Who cares about the Wonderlic scores, what questions did the players get wrong? I’m not saying get rid of the combine. It’s a necessary evil. But as a lover of football it’s like watching the Division II football playoffs. I’ll watch it because it’s football and there’s nothing better than football to watch, but I won’t be entertained. NFL combine….been there, done that.Read more
What is two tenth’s of a second?
It’s the difference between a 4.24 and a 4.54 40 yard dash.
A top ten pick and a second day maybe.
A $20 million dollar signing bonus and the league minimum.
One jersey is worn by everyone in the stands,
and the other is only worn by his mother.
When the gun went off,
the player sprinted, his fate floated, the tape broke
and it was over just like that
in 4.28 seconds.
Just two-tenths of a second.
Proof, the smallest difference can make the biggest difference.
The NFL combine….for the undaunted underdog.Read more