We’ve been waiting for it and on Friday we got it—a gloves-off bashing of DeSean Jackson emanating from the so-called City of Brotherly Love.
A CBS Philly post quotes a number of “sources close to and around” the Eagles in a takedown of Jackson in painting a picture of him as an all-round bad guy and disruptive figure.
“You see little kids and how they cry and whine when they don’t get their way, that was D-Jax,” one source is quoted as saying. “I don’t think [Jackson] gave [head coach Chip Kelly] the respect he deserved. Kelly tried to reach [Jackson] plenty of times and [Jackson] tuned him out.”
Feel free to go read it but it’s several hundred words of more of the same.
It should be familiar to those who follow the Redskins as it bears a strong resemblance to some of the reports that were circulating about Robert Griffin III towards the end of last year. It paints a one-sided picture of a bad person and a bad teammate. And it does so with a noticeable lack of specific incidents, dates, and, other than Kelly, the people Jackson supposedly interacted with. The sources are just emptying the garbage out of the can and dumping it on the leftover Eagles No. 10 jerseys.
At least with the Griffin reports there were reasons for the sources to stay anonymous since Griffin was still with the team. Why do the sources for the post about Jackson need to stay anonymous? He’s gone, signed with a division rival. Why not put your name to what you say?
The article states that some of the sources are players. But who are the others? There are a lot of people “around” an NFL team—coaches, equipment managers, scouts, ad sales reps. Some of them would have firsthand knowledge of how Jackson acted while others would rely on gossip and hearsay. By choosing to be vague about who his sources are the writer makes it very difficult to determine their credibility.
If you have any doubt that the purpose here is to try to rehab Kelly's image after his controversial decision, look no further than this one quote from the writer of the article: “Kelly received some culpability in the opinion of some. But numerous sources confirmed that [Kelly] should have been canonized St. Chip after putting up with the instigating Jackson in 2013.”
Nowhere in the article is Kelly’s “culpability” detailed in any way. That wasn’t on the agenda here. The agenda was to trash Jackson and put Kelly on a pedestal.
Look, there is plenty of evidence that Jackson is very high maintenance as an employee and perhaps not the ideal teammate in every respect. We didn’t need this article to know that.
But if we got a vaguely sourced story that focuses exclusively on the negative with no examination of the other side of the story about, say, Mister Rogers, we could end up concluding that the only difference between him and Hannibal Lecter is the cardigan sweater.
To some this article will serve as an exposé, a picture of the real DeSean Jackson. Others will look at it like the Eagles organization justifying a decision that could well come back to bite them badly.