Wide receiver DeSean Jackson bounced back quickly after the Philadelphia Eagles dropped him on March 28 amidst accusations of gang affiliation.
The Washington Redskins quickly picked him up despite the controversy, and now Jackson is telling his own story. In an interview with Sports Center’s Stephen A. Smith, he says he is not a gang member and he finds the allegations wrong and disrespectful.
Jackson also shares how hurt he was that the Eagles parted ways with him. The franchise maintains that the decision was based on “work ethic and attitude.”
“To hear all these stories that weren’t even true, I was just very disturbed,” he said.
"I actually got a chance to hear about [the NJ.com report] before it came out," Jackson said. "Got a call before it came out. My agent called. How do I feel about NJ.com? From my point of view, it was very disrespectful. I don't think it was right -- straight up."
The NJ.com linked Jackson to Theron Shakir, one of two men charged with the murder of a 14-year-old, who was allegedly killed for flashing rival gang signs to members of another gang. Shakir was later acquitted. When asked about Shakir, Jackson said it was a touchy topic because he's known him since the two were teens.
Jackson says he’s not oblivious to gangs because he grew up in an environment riddled with gang activity.
"Not if they're doing negative things," he said in response to if he hangs with gang members. He added he witnessed "things" on a daily basis in his neighborhood when he was growing up.
"Do I know people who are involved? Yes," he said. "I'm definitely aware of and know certain gang members. But as far as being affiliated, never have been in one. I've always felt I've been a product of my environment, but I've always felt I've wanted to do things the right way."
“I’m trying to tell little kids to stay away from these things,” he added.
The seven-year player is looking forward to starting a new career with the Redskins. He signed a three-year, $24 million deal.
(Photo: Sports Center via ESPN)