The Philadelphia Eagles made enough headlines by releasing DeSean Jackson on March 28. However, the Eagles ensured that an already controversial move would become something even worse, once they cut Jackson hours after a damaging report from NJ.com.
The website alleged that Jackson had ties to Los Angeles gangbangers suspected of murder. If the Eagles believed it enough to release him, and if it turned out they rushed to judgment, the fallout from releasing their most dangerous receiver will be even worse off the field.
This is already an organization that kept Riley Cooper, even after he got caught on tape using the n-word last summer. It paid off on the field when Cooper had a career year, which led to him getting resigned -- yet after Jackson had his own career season in 2013, the Eagles rushed to get rid of him for one reason or another.
The NJ.com article on March 28 not only had the headline "DeSean Jackson's gang connections troubling to Eagles" it also alleged "A bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly" as the original reasons the Eagles shopped him around. Perhaps they were also why no team was interested in trading for him, even before this new report came out.
ESPN's Sal Paolantonio claimed the Eagles discovered Jackson's alleged gang connections on March 26, which "raised their level of concern" according to his source. After the NJ.com story came out, the organization reportedly stopped asking other teams for a trade, then moved to cut Jackson hours later.
Tellingly, the Eagles had no comment about the allegations, although Jackson himself called them "misleading and unfounded reports" in a statement. However, he didn't accuse Philadelphia of cutting him for those reasons.
The Philadelphia Daily News's Marcus Hayes still accused the Eagles of striking "a low blow" against Jackson on March 29. However, he wrote that it was more about saving money, and sending the message that "if we believe you are overpaid we will get rid of you." The NJ.com article was therefore "deviously perfect" timing, regardless of collateral damage to Jackson's reputation.
Philadelphia would have been heavily scrutinized for releasing Jackson no matter what. Yet thanks to yesterday's perfect storm, the Eagles may now have to shake off charges of racism and greed, long after Jackson finds a new home.