Jackson denies flashing gang signs at Hall
April, 4, 2014
By Calvin Watkins | ESPN.com
Newly signed Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson said he didn't flash gang signs at cornerback DeAngelo Hall in a game last season.
While playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, Jackson flashed two fingers at Hall at the line of scrimmage. Reports in the past week have raised questions about whether it was a gang sign. Speaking Friday afternoon to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Jackson said he does know gang members from growing up in South Central Los Angeles but isn't affiliated with any gangs.
"I did flick something at him, but as far as it being a gang sign, that wasn't a gang sign," Jackson said. "I think a lot of people overlook the situation with me and DeAngelo Hall. After the game was over, ESPN, people taking pictures, people saying this, people saying that. Me and DeAngelo Hall, that's like a big brother to me. Me and him have a lot of respect for each other. That's on the field, man, things happen like that at times. But as far as it being a gang sign that necessarily wasn't what it was. The aggression got up to a point where you're going back and forth and you're saying things. It's all friendly, but at the same time, it's a game we play and emotions get out there. Things are happening. As far as the signs that I throw up, I think that's the culture nowadays. I think a lot of people throw gestures up or do signs or peace here and there. In my eyes, there's nothing more of it being a gang sign."
Hall told Smith he's happy to have Jackson as a teammate.
Still, the perception of Jackson being affiliated with gangs could raise questions about his mindset. He reiterated several times during the interview he's not a gang member or affiliated with any gangs.
The Eagles cut ties with the veteran playmaker March 28, the same day a story on NJ.com discussed his alleged gang connections in his native California. Jackson said he was hurt that the Eagles cut him and also said the story in NJ.com was disrespectful. A league source told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio that the team had numerous reasons for cutting Jackson and none more than his work ethic and attitude.
Jackson was also asked about photos on social media web sites that show him flashing signs with his hands.
"They are seeing what they're seeing," said Jackson, when asked if those were gang signs. "The perception of the signs, is whoever wants to make it out to be. As far as myself, I grew up in a community where I know how sensitive that topic can get, I know how easily a color or a hat that you're wearing can all have an association with a certain gang. That's the environment that I come from. When my guys that I grow up with -- when we have signs that we throw up to each other -- it's like a shoutout, or when I score a touchdown, I put up a sign and they see it; it keeps me connected with the boys I grew up with."