DeSean Jackson denies affiliations with gangs in ESPN interview

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Newly signed Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson denied an affiliation with gangs or gang members in an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

The interview aired Friday on SportsCenter and Jackson talked about his departure from the Philadelphia Eagles in addition to the rumors that he was associated with gangs.

Jackson spoke about his conversation with Eagles coach Chip Kelly when he was released saying “The conversation I had with Chip Kelly was a deep, personal conversation, but at the same time, when he called me, it was basically like, ‘We’re moving forward. I think it’s best for the team; I think it’s best for yourself.’ I was sitting there waiting for a reason why, but that’s basically all I can really say from the conversation.”

He later spoke about reports from that he was affiliated with gangs.

“About the article, how I feel about, from my point of view it was very disrespectful. I don’t think it was right, straight up. … The allegations and the things that were said within the article were things from a long time ago that I felt the club and the organization knew about previous years before that.” said Jackson, transcribed by the Washington Post. “To sit there come 2014 and hear all these crazy allegations, and crazy stories that half wasn’t even true, or whatever the case may be, I was just very disturbed and didn’t like that at all.”

He then denied being a gang member and defended the company that surrounds him.

“No, it’s not true. Honestly, where I was raised and where I grew up at, that’s the product of an environment. … The things I witnessed, the things I saw on a daily basis, kind of surrounded me around that. Do I know friends that are out there involved? Yes. I try to, you know, stay away from them. I don’t try to intervene and do things of any nature that has anything to do with negative activities, but I’m definitely aware and know certain gang members. But as far as me being affiliated, or me being a gang member, never not have once been. Never had any affiliation of going out and doing things that is against the law. I always felt that I’m a product of my environment, but at the same time, I’m the guy that wants to go out there and do things the right way.”

“Early on in my career, don’t get me wrong, I feel I was hanging around or surrounding myself around the wrong individuals. But that was on me to learn and for me to understand, and make that change in my life. So now where I’m at in my seventh year, speaking from where I’m at today, it’s not true. … I’ve felt the past two to three years I’ve matured to the utmost.”