Stop Expecting NFL Stars to Abandon Old Friends
Richard Sherman: Don't judge DeSean Jackson by company he keeps
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2014 1:26 PM CDT
DeSean Jackson speaks during a news conference in Philadelphia in this 2013 file photo.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(Newser) – The Philadelphia Eagles cut DeSean Jackson in the midst of reports that he has ties to gang members. Is he in a gang himself? Fellow NFL player Richard Sherman, who grew up with Jackson near Los Angeles, doesn't know one way or another, but he's got a little trouble with the term "gang ties," he writes at Sports Illustrated. "I think about all the players I’ve met in the NFL and all of us who come from inner-city neighborhoods like mine in Los Angeles, and I wonder how many of us could honestly say we’re not friends with guys doing the wrong things," he writes. "I can't."

But what's the alternative? Are players like Jackson and Sherman supposed to cut ties with people—friends who were always there for them—as soon as they become millionaires? No dice, writes Sherman. "I can’t change who I grew up with, but what I can do is try to educate them on the right way of doing things, help them when they need it, and try to keep them out of trouble." Even if most ignore the help, some do accept it. If you're judging Jackson without knowing him, you're wrong. And if the Eagles—a team happy to keep a white player who hurls racial slurs—did indeed cut him because of "gang ties," then "they did something worse," writes Sherman. Click for his full column. Or to read about his playoff "thug" controversy.)

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Showing 3 of 39 comments
2cent
Apr 5, 2014 12:14 AM CDT
Football is way overrated.
WLeoB
Apr 4, 2014 5:54 AM CDT
I think about 45% of NFL players have felony records. "Only" about 25% of NBA players have felony records. Solution: Any felony convictions, no college scholarships and no future in professional sports. The message for all youth should be to keep your nose clean and stay out of trouble. It just takes a little old fashioned self discipline and control. You can take the "Boyz" out of the "Hood" but you can't take the "Hood" out of the "Boyz."
Drewzy
Apr 3, 2014 12:34 PM CDT
Anybody who is involved with gang activity should be ostracized by friends, former friends, and the general public. Only when that type of behavior is treated as a disgusting disease will there be any progress. Just because some guy is an outstanding athlete, does not make him a skilled therapist, sociologist, or someone who is in any way qualified to "treat" these horribly misguided gang members.