The allegations of “gang affiliation” surrounding former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson reflects the NFL and the nation’s lack of understanding regarding the dynamics at work in its inner cities and its lack of ownership of that. The “gang” problem is not just an “inner city problem” or a by product of the oft touted “black pathology” that perpetuates mythic “black on black violence”. It is an American problem of unique creation . These “gangsters” if you may, are America’s neglected children. The hypocrisy of America is that those children, as it is symptomatic of abused relationships, are only given attention by their abusers when they are seen to be of potential profit, in the form of billions of dollars to America’s other ‘gangsters’: the NFL, NBA, or NCAAA, or when its deemed appropriate and necessary to demonise them, as is the case of DeSean Jackson or place them front and centre as the metaphorical expression of America’s social ills to only again, advantageously profit of their bodies in the prison industrial complex where African Americans constitute 8% of the entire world’s prison population
As Chris Rock stated in his stage comedy show entitled “Never Scared”, “Only the white man is allowed to profit from pain”. Indeed.
As Indianapolis Colts owner, Jim Irsay, whose net worth according to Forbes is approximately $1.6 Billion dollars, awaits the disposition of four felony counts for driving under the influence, and possession of a controlled substance, one has to ask the question why is DeSean Jackson taking up so much of our time and not a Jim Irsay?
Affliated or not, Desean Jackson,his family and friends, come from places where gang violence is rife and inescapable- the NFL knows this because it is where they went to go find him as they do many of the other 67% of African-Americans who play in the NFL.
The truth of the NFL is that the places where men like Desean Jackson come from are fertile fields of poverty where violence, desperation and hunger breed prototypes who can thrive in the midst of the violence and desperation of the National Football League aka ‘Not For Long’. The answers about where Desean Jackson comes from and who he knows do not need to be theorised. They are known, the NFL is anything does its homework on these gifted physical specimens.
The irony is that the public could care less, their concerns lying only in that perform on any given Sunday, Monday or Thursday and when they do, it’s typically for the wrong reasons, to demonise, persecute.
As any good parent knows, the apple rarely falls far from the tree and it is in this adage where America consistently turns a blind eye for it is in our children we see ourselves and it is clear that America refuses to peer into the looking glass. As Iraq still struggles from the aftermath of American invasion and as Afghanistan labours under the weight of ’12 Year’s A Occupation’ it is clear the adage runs true in that whether members of DeSean Jackson’s inner circle are gang affiliated or not, it is evident that America the country that birthed them- IS.
The social conditions that exist in places where young black men escape to the wealth and fame of the NFL were created by the wilful neglect of the state, a story too long and torrid. Gangs are violent because America, their parent is violent and instead of demonising a young man for where he comes, people should do well to contemplate that.