Stop defending DeSean Jackson

Stop defending DeSean Jackson

It’s times like this where you have to force yourself to step back and look at a situation objectively, not through green-tinted glasses. The Philadelphia Eagles released DeSean Jackson, and it is 100 percent Jackson’s fault.

Look, I’m not going to attempt to spin Jackson’s release as the Eagles got better on the football field or positive at all. Clearly, that’s not the case. The numbers and accolades speak for themselves.

Jackson is a 27-year-old, three-time Pro Bowler coming off of a career year. He is one of only nine players since entering the league in 2008 to record at least 350 receptions, 6,000 yards receiving and 35 touchdowns.

Obviously, this decision didn’t come down to statistics and awards. It didn’t come down to contract or offensive schemes, either, although saving a few bucks probably didn’t hurt.

This decision was made based purely on Jackson’s attitude, behavior and questionable off-field activities and associations.

I’ve defended DeSean for years. Hell, I defended him yesterday. He had never been arrested to the public's knowledge. His charity work frequently made headlines. Yeah, he was a diva who played with a gigantic chip on his shoulder, as do many other professional athletes.

But if the Eagles saw and know enough to outright release a player of his caliber, I understand that such a decision was not made lightly. The organization has its reasons, and I accept them at face value.

I accept those reasons at face value in part because I’m already aware of some of the issues. No, I can’t speak to what Jackson is doing in his private time, namely the extent to which he associates or is involved with a gang, nor any other potentially illicit behavior. I don’t know to what extent a burglary at his Philadelphia home was suspicious, either.

I do know that it makes for an uncomfortable working environment when an employee is allowed to openly disrespect one of his superiors as Jackson did to wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell during a game last season. Philly.com’s Jimmy Kempski, who first reported Jackson could be as good as gone back on March 1, went so far as to suggest that was no isolated incident.

How many workplaces would that be acceptable in? What message does it send to the other players in the locker room? Who is to say he wouldn’t challenge Chip Kelly’s authority?

We know similar acts of disobedience are not isolated. Back in 2010, there was an incident where Jackson refused to field punts during pregame warmups—or in layman’s terms, do his job. During the great contract debacle of 2011, departed head coach Andy Reid actually left Jackson inactive for a game after he missed special teams meetings.

The entirety of the 2011 campaign could sum up most of Jackson’s negative qualities in a nutshell. He visibly gave less than full effort throughout the season while sulking over his contract. Guess what Jackson felt he was deserving of back in January.

A new contract.

How do you think that was going to play out over the next six months? 12 months? Two years?

Yes, the Eagles signed him to a five-year deal just two years ago. Yet it’s very telling that the organization would not guarantee any money beyond the first two years of the contract.

Hey, don’t take my word for it on any of this stuff, or the Eagles’ or the Philly media’s for that matter. Look no further than what the team was able to get in a trade for Jackson.

Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Not even a measly third-round pick for a player who posted 82 catches, 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013.

Maybe that speaks to how badly the Eagles bungled this situation. Far more likely is the lack of offers speaks to just how poor Jackson’s reputation is around the NFL.

Seeing as the Birds failed to move Jackson last year, too, I’d venture it was the latter.

Is it disappointing and frustrating from a fan perspective that a popular player and productive All Star in his prime was straight-up released? I completely understand that. I thought the Eagles would get something for Jackson. I thought they could get another year out of him at least. I never fully believed he would be released.

Don’t direct your anger in the wrong place though. You can say the Eagles got worse all you want. You can lazily and naively equate every time a member of the team ever did anything illegal/immoral to Jackson’s transgressions as if one singular event triggered this.

If you do that, you’re pointing the finger in all the wrong places. This is entirely DeSean Jackson’s fault. If you’re going to be mad at anybody, be mad at the person who brought this not only on himself, but on the Eagles fanbase.

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

Sixers' T.J. McConnell (sprained right wrist) out Monday vs. Bucks

The Sixers will get Joel Embiid back in the lineup when they meet the Bucks on Monday afternoon in Milwaukee, but they'll be without their starting point guard.

T.J. McConnell will miss Monday's game with a sprained right wrist suffered in Saturday night's loss to the Wizards in D.C.

McConnell reportedly did not travel with the team to Milwaukee and is back home in Philadelphia.

The 24-year-old McConnell has been a presence this season for a Sixers team that desperately needed something from the point guard spot. In 38 games this season, McConnell has averaged 4.8 points, 5.8 points and 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists a night in an average of 22.3 minutes a game.

The highlight of McConnell's season, of course, came last week when he nailed the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 98-97 victory over the Knicks.

Sergio Rodriguez is expected to start in McConnell's place Monday against the Bucks.

Sixers' Ersan Ilyasova excited to see family in adopted hometown of Milwaukee

Sixers' Ersan Ilyasova excited to see family in adopted hometown of Milwaukee

Traveling to Milwaukee means a return to where Ersan Ilyasova began his NBA career.

Twelve years later, it also means a return to his family when the Sixers visit the Bucks on Monday afternoon at the Bradley Center.
 
Ilyasova planted roots in Milwaukee during his seven seasons with the Bucks, who drafted him in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft. Though he has played for four teams since the Bucks traded him to the Pistons in the summer of 2015, Ilyasova has maintained a home base in the city he adopted after coming to the NBA from Europe.

“I kind of grew up there,” he said. “It’s a lot of time spent.”

Ilyasova’s lengthy tenure with his first team - which doesn’t always happen in the NBA - afforded him and his family the time to make Milwaukee their home.

His wife and three young children (daughters ages eight and five years old and son age three years old) have remained there while Ilyasova has moved around the league frequently. He has been a member of the Pistons, Magic, Thunder and Sixers in a matter of two seasons.

“It’s a huge thing,” Ilyasova said. “I haven’t seen the girls for two months now - a lot of Skype and FaceTime. I see my son, he flies back and forth with my wife.”

The Sixers flew to Milwaukee on Sunday from Washington, D.C. after Saturday night's loss to the Wizards at the Verizon Center. Ilyasova planned to stay at his house and catch up on the time he has missed while being away from his family. This includes missed time during the holidays while the team was on a west coast road trip.
 
“It’s always really exciting,” Ilyasova said. “They’re counting the days when I will come. They’re all excited to come to the game.”
 
Another highlight of being back in Milwaukee? A home-cooked meal.
 
“They’re already preparing it,” Ilyasova said. “It’s duck with apples in it.”