Richard Sherman has written another post for The MMQB, and this time he is wading into the mess of stupid that has bubbled up around DeSean Jackson's release from the Eagles and alleged gang ties. It's the smartest thing that's been written about the situation yet.
Sherman spends the first half of the piece pointing out what should be obvious: Anyone who comes from the socioeconomic background that DeSean Jackson does is bound to have friends who have been in jail or have criminal ties. Sherman—who played little league baseball with Jackson—admits that he himself is still friends with people from his old neighborhood, but that doesn't mean that he, or Jackson, have "gang ties." It can simply mean that they are loyal friends.
But Sherman is at his best when he points out the hypocrisy that writers, executives, and pundits engage in when they wring their hands over Jackson's alleged issues:
Commit certain crimes in this league and be a certain color, and you get help, not scorn. Look at the way many in the media wrote about Jim Irsay after his DUI arrest. Nobody suggested the Colts owner had "ties" to drug trafficking, even though he was caught driving with controlled substances (prescription pills) and $29,000 in cash to do who-knows-what with. Instead, poor millionaire Mr. Irsay needs help, some wrote.
(We can't help but wonder why "some wrote" didn't read, "The most popular writer on this very website wrote.")
Sherman is absolutely right. Imagine for a moment what would happen if DeSean Jackson got pulled over with $29,000 in a metal briefcase and two laundry bags with various pills in them. There would be no pained sighing about how Jackson needs to "get help." He would immediately be cast as some kind of mix between Michael Vick and Avon Barksdale, an all-but-assured drug trafficker who is into who knows what else. Sherman's central point here is unassailable: The problem with DeSean Jackson isn't that he's a gangbanger. It's that he grew up poor and black.