DeSean Jackson has denied having gang affiliations after reports surfaced Friday that unsavory connections contributed to his surprise release from the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Pro Bowl wide receiver was cut on Friday, and within hours had six teams inquiring about signing him. His spokeswoman, Denise White, said that Jackson is ready to jump in with a new team.
“He’s not letting this get him down, although it definitely concerns him, and he doesn’t like what’s going on,” White told USA Today Sports. “At the same time he has a job to do, and he knows whatever team he ends up on, he needs to be ready. He wants to go somewhere where they want him.”
It became clear in recent days that the Philadelphia Eagles no longer wanted DeSean Jackson. A report from NJ.com on Friday said the team was uneasy about DeSean’s reported affiliation with a Los Angeles gang.
Jackson quickly denied the report, issuing a statement that read:
“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.”
White admitted that DeSean Jackson has suffered “guilt by association” in the past, and acknowledged that he struggled with negative associations. But she said many other NFL players have gone through the same process, and that it was unfair to single out Jackson.