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DeSean Jackson’s high school coach dismisses story of gang ties

desean AP

People who knew Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson in high school are speaking out against a report that Jackson has gang connections.

Jackson’s coach at Long Beach Poly High School, Raul Lara, was quoted in the NJ.com story about Jackson’s alleged gang affiliations as saying that Jackson “started to hang around some not-so-good people” after his father died. But Lara told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that he did not mean that Jackson was in a gang.

“Gangbanger, what the hell is that about? He’s not a gangbanger. All I was saying was that it was a tragic part of his life when his father died,” Lara said. “He’s not a gangbanger, I don’t know where they’re getting that from, and I didn’t say that he was. I was close with his dad and I know that when his dad passed it really hit him.”

Jackson’s high school counselor Debbie Hughes also said she has seen nothing to indicate that Jackson has gang ties.

“DeSean is a great guy — he was a sweet kid when he was in high school, always very polite and respectful with me,” Hughes said. “There was no gang activity with him. He wasn’t in a gang. That’s not to say other students weren’t, but DeSean definitely wasn’t one of them.”

Before NFL teams consider investing millions of dollars in Jackson, they’ll scrutinize his personal life. If the people at Jackson’s high school are to be believed, NFL teams will like what they find out.

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65 Responses to “DeSean Jackson’s high school coach dismisses story of gang ties”
  1. tvjules says: Mar 31, 2014 7:40 AM

    The Eagles didn’t let him go solely based on a rumor. Same with the other teams, who are no longer interested in him.

  2. kwgator says: Mar 31, 2014 7:41 AM

    But his science teacher says he has gang connections

  3. wallyhorse says: Mar 31, 2014 7:43 AM

    This seems to be more about the Eagles wanting to save money and they were using the NJ.com article last week as a cover for fans who might not understand it. The Eagles have a LONG history of cutting players one year too soon as opposed to one year too late, and this fits right in with that.

  4. perspective2424 says: Mar 31, 2014 7:45 AM

    So you’re telling me that the principal and guidance counselor from the high school he attended 10 years ago- STILL know what he’s up to today?

  5. campcouch says: Mar 31, 2014 7:51 AM

    Sounds like a bum way for the Eagles to release a star player and the money he would get without enraging the fans. What they’re saying is that they didn’t “investigate” him 6 years ago and now they have questions. Hopefully they review all of their employees pasts and dismiss them accordingly.

  6. jbeagles23 says: Mar 31, 2014 7:51 AM

    He’s not in a gang but he does roll with gang bangers. There is picture evidence to support that and that could be more than enough for teams not to take a risk after Hernandez

  7. germanvampire says: Mar 31, 2014 7:53 AM

    But if one is not in a street gang, why does one hang around with gang-bangers and flash gang hand signals?

  8. bullcharger says: Mar 31, 2014 7:56 AM

    Then why has he flashed gang signs in public . It’s on film. He even did it with Snoop. There’s no way he would do that if he wasn’t a member.

  9. imjustsayin412 says: Mar 31, 2014 7:56 AM

    When you grow up in the inner city, it’s not hard AT ALL to be “associated” with criminals. Some of my best friends that I grew up with are in jail for murder, or sell drugs or have done all kinds of evil and I greet them like brothers when I see them. Does that mean I do what they do or even approve of it, absolutely not. I’m 32, have been married for 7 years with 2 kids and have held a job in Information Technology for almost a decade and if you did an extensive background check on me, you could link me to some gangstas, killers and hustlers. They would never let me ruin my life doing what they do, they respect me for being who I am, and in many ways hope to one day turn things around and get like me. That’s why they like being around successful people, not to corrupt them, but inspiration and motivation to do something better with their lives. People who never lived in the environment we come from will never understand it.

  10. markusj83 says: Mar 31, 2014 7:56 AM

    well there’s a story…when he was 17 he didn’t have gang ties…how could anyone have ever connected such a sweet young man to gangs? How about from being in pictures with known gang members flashing gang signs…how about flashing gang signs in the face of another NFL player…Who cares who this guy was when he was young…who he is now is what matters and I didn’t want him in Philly before I heard about possible gang ties let alone now. Glad he’s gone

  11. chaunce922 says: Mar 31, 2014 7:56 AM

    Lmao, Marshawn Lynch is a legit gang member throwing up signs and stuff almost every where he goes and has a criminal record, and no one makes a big deal about it.

    And the fact Desean is even rumored to be involved is a national headline?

    This is clearly some type of league wide collusion to drive down his price. If he wasnt asking for 10 million a year and only something like 2 or 3 i bet you all 32 teams would be visiting him.

  12. dlw492 says: Mar 31, 2014 7:57 AM

    They let him go for free. FREE
    Enough said

  13. 65impala says: Mar 31, 2014 7:57 AM

    Kelly needs to go!! he is an idiot, he wanted to trade N. Foles. I guess this will make room for more former Ducks who couldn’t win a national title.

  14. explosionsauce says: Mar 31, 2014 7:58 AM

    High school was a decade ago

  15. Iain says: Mar 31, 2014 7:58 AM

    His agent is earning his money right now, working these character references.

  16. poewing says: Mar 31, 2014 7:58 AM

    #DjaxToOakland

  17. fissels says: Mar 31, 2014 8:01 AM

    Maybe it’s not about gangs. It could be that his attitude sucks.

  18. djstat says: Mar 31, 2014 8:04 AM

    Too bad he finished high school 10 years ago. People can change in 10 years

  19. neilanblomi says: Mar 31, 2014 8:06 AM

    That’s fine for them to say so. I Guess they can’t explain why he has pictures of himself with gang members and he is routinely throwing up gang sings then. Why is he pretending to be gang affiliated then?

  20. howiefeltersnatch says: Mar 31, 2014 8:08 AM

    I can’t wait until this little punk is signed so you guys can stop riding his jock already. Good lord.

  21. cadlow says: Mar 31, 2014 8:09 AM

    No doubt, Jackson probably had friends who were gangbangers when he was in high school. But since college and his pro career how many “incidents” or ties to any type of gang activity has there been?
    The “gang ties are a convenient excuse fo a team to get out of a high paying contract with a top rated player they believe is not worth what they would have to pay him. If they just cut him, fans would go nuts especially after releasing Vick and bacically doing nothing in free agency. So paint him as a “potential” problem, and your fans will be OK with his release.

  22. imjustsayin412 says: Mar 31, 2014 8:09 AM

    People who have never lived in the hood will NEVER understand the people in it. I’m married with kids, and a career in information technology and a background check could reveal that I’m “associated” with some gangsters, killers, and drug dealers. I grew up with them, and just because of what they’ve done or continue to do doesn’t mean I stop knowing them or stop caring about them as people. Many of them are like brothers to me, and our friendship is based off of what we mean to each other not our lifestyles. Do we hang out, no but that’s not to say we wouldn’t go grab a couple drinks or something like that. It’s easy to be ASSOCIATED with anyone, and people try to define you based on who you know or who knows you and that sucks. Why dont they start “Associating” some of these executives with other shady executives who are sex offenders and drunks, or have done shady business in the past.

  23. 49erstim says: Mar 31, 2014 8:10 AM

    This smells of typical NFL character assassination. I’m not such a DJax fan because I’ve always felt he was too much of a “ME” guy, but it’s kinda funny that there were rumors about him being released for weeks and then this story broke and Philly released him. Sounds like Philly spread the rumor to save face for cutting the guy. Man up Philly front office. If you wanna cut the guy just cut him.

  24. holdsteady76 says: Mar 31, 2014 8:11 AM

    you know your career trajectory has taken a turn for the worse when you’re relying on your high school gym coach for a reference.

  25. sfitz0076 says: Mar 31, 2014 8:14 AM

    What the hell did you expect his high school coach to say?

  26. neilanblomi says: Mar 31, 2014 8:16 AM

    ^signs..

  27. wawa33 says: Mar 31, 2014 8:20 AM

    DeSean’s dentist also denies any gang ties.

  28. footballtalk1 says: Mar 31, 2014 8:20 AM

    Desean Jackson do you know what a libel lawsuit is? Go after the Eagles for defamation of character!

  29. longislandblitz says: Mar 31, 2014 8:20 AM

    Raiders or Redskins will waste big money on this guy,because that’s what they do .Raiders love the saying “one mans trash is another mans treasure.And Dan Synder will throw the bank at anyone with a name

  30. britishteeth says: Mar 31, 2014 8:24 AM

    I’ve been able to partake in a whole bunch of shady activities that my high school teachers would never have guessed I was capable.

  31. 2manyconcussions says: Mar 31, 2014 8:27 AM

    Some player are just a mixed blessing. They may be very talented but at the same time, they can bring large egos, cause problems in the locker room, and complain when they don’t get the ball enough. The question is do they bring enough benefit to justify the disruption to the team. The Eagles have made their judgement.

  32. racerx1225 says: Mar 31, 2014 8:29 AM

    Last time I checked there are half a dozen teams interested. The only ones who arent, are the ones who either dont need him, cant afford him or who arent smart enough to add him to their roster.

  33. pocketcow says: Mar 31, 2014 8:30 AM

    We’ve all seen how he acts on the field… Hard to believe sweet, respectful kids act like he does on live TV. Great player with a bad attitude.

  34. mrneto72 says: Mar 31, 2014 8:31 AM

    Oh the media, blowing this out of proportion, DeSean will get his $$$ somewhere, he is a good player.

  35. chrisk61 says: Mar 31, 2014 8:32 AM

    the parallel between jackson and hernandez is they both used nfl sourced wealth to bankroll gang activity which is presumably illegal. in hernandez’s case it was gun purchasing in FL and running them up the east coast to boston area. who knows what jackson was funding. but it sure wasn’t sunday afternoon barbeques.

  36. tongsareinyourseatback says: Mar 31, 2014 8:32 AM

    Did people really expect his coach and counselor to come out a say he was a gangbanger at the risk of a drive-by?

  37. seanb20124 says: Mar 31, 2014 8:34 AM

    HS coach getting nervous

  38. jwcarlson says: Mar 31, 2014 8:37 AM

    If anyone knows a guy it’s his high school football coach… who he probably hasn’t even talked to in about ten years.

  39. csilojohnson says: Mar 31, 2014 8:38 AM

    Not worth the risk for just a ‘good’ receiver.

  40. NFLisnotreality says: Mar 31, 2014 8:41 AM

    Now we know where that ‘stolen’ money went to, paying off MeSean’s character witnesses…

  41. coloradofort says: Mar 31, 2014 8:41 AM

    The NFL folks certainly are aware of issues………its a billion dollar business where talent is king…..so these teams are not making these types of decisions without a reason.

  42. cryptker says: Mar 31, 2014 8:42 AM

    So I guess the photos of him with gang members were photoshopped, anyway that wasn`t the sole reason he was released.

  43. ninetysixer says: Mar 31, 2014 8:53 AM

    what else would you expect from his coach or counselor?

  44. moeman79 says: Mar 31, 2014 8:56 AM

    right because NFL teams hate good players and make stuff up so they can get them on another team. maybe his mom can come out and say “my boy is a good kid”.

  45. chaser44 says: Mar 31, 2014 8:57 AM

    high school was 8-9 years ago…

  46. realheroeswearcamo says: Mar 31, 2014 9:09 AM

    Looks like somebody got a call from somebody else’s lawyer, who said something about slander.

  47. lks311 says: Mar 31, 2014 9:16 AM

    So, I want to get this straight, one WR hurls racial epithets and gets a new contract, the other flashes gang signs and gets his walking papers.

    Why aren’t both gone?

  48. wishingtonredslur says: Mar 31, 2014 9:19 AM

    If life has taught me anything it is that the opinions of people from high school should immediately be disregarded unless they’re negative. The gang bangers are saying they don’t know him. I believe them.

  49. eaglesw00t says: Mar 31, 2014 9:20 AM

    Lol, the Eagles are paying him $4M this year to NOT play for them. That is VERY unEaglelike. Anyone who thinks this is just about a stupid story from some nobody’s blog in a nj website are idiots. Something stinks with this whole thing. The eagles aren’t releasing a 27yo pro bowler for petty reasons.

  50. don2074978 says: Mar 31, 2014 9:21 AM

    D-Jack

    $21,449,335 Total cash paid by Eagles

    $60,082.17 Price per catch

    $3,500.21 Price per yard

  51. donkeydrew says: Mar 31, 2014 9:26 AM

    thats great and all, but what do his middle school coach and counsler think? surely they have some newsworthy insight about jackson.

  52. richndc says: Mar 31, 2014 9:44 AM

    Everyone is an expert-on both sides of the fence. Here is what we know: he has taken pictures with known gang members, one of whom shot a 14 year old boy in the back from a car for flashing rival signs. He threw the Crip sign in the face of DeAngelo Hall. He has a me first attitude, or, at the VERY least has his mind on too many other things besides doing what it takes to win games. The rest is pure speculation. Drawing these wild conclusions is now the way of the world, the truth may not even be revealed, but for the above facts alone, are why we are talking about it. None of you commenting above know a single thing about the man’s past with whomever or current associations. I am always amazed it even needs saying.

  53. Slim Charles says: Mar 31, 2014 9:50 AM

    Yeah, this is classic character assassination. Even the nj.com article cited people talking about work he did with kids in the community, etc. The Eagles just helped this stuff along so they could dump him and avoid paying what they owed. The worst person Jackson associates with is probably Riley Cooper.

  54. egojames007 says: Mar 31, 2014 9:54 AM

    I know DeSean then and and now. He loves the Hip Hop west coast culture. Some guys are gang members in that circle. Its a very blurry line. Most those guys are trying to Rap and make money. Do they have enemies? yes. DeSean is one of the most watched Individuals on the Planet. Nobody is going to be doing anything Criminal in his presence. I sat next to his dad at high school football games. I once raced DeSean teasing him when he was 15. He plays Video games, he likes Music. He is not in a gang. Never. He is a rich Baller. a foot-baller. some lucky team will win a few games More, With him on Board.

  55. flyingditkas says: Mar 31, 2014 10:11 AM

    Seriously…if someone has to dig up that much of a past on a player to cover him now, whatever is trying to be hidden must be bad.

  56. vmu2 says: Mar 31, 2014 10:30 AM

    Reports also indicate that Desean’s mom thinks he’s a good boy and he’s misunderstood.

  57. mdf53 says: Mar 31, 2014 10:41 AM

    D-Jax is a professional athlete who will use the national stage to market his celebrity just like any other athlete who has that appeal. There is life after football that football resourced can provide funds to produce.

    He has the right to do all of his business in a legal and ethical way as any other business. He hasn’t shot, robbed, raped, swindled, killed or sold any drugs which are all gang related activities. Nobody can account for the lifestyles of the people that come into there association as to who is connected to who, but if there is a market to be explored with celebrity appeal the music industry is the hottest spot there is.

    His music label is open to rappers and the entertainment industry is full of illicit life styles especially gang connected drug selling stone cold killers.

    Let’s not forget the owner of a franchise that just got arrested on felony drug charges and loads of cash that he could have chipped into free agency for his team.

    If there’s anything to be concerned about other than the 10 million dollars and a long term contract, then connect the dots so that everybody can see the true picture instead of the rhetoric and suspicion posing as truth. It shouldn’t be too hard to find.

    Let’s get ready for football and let this talented baller do his thing on the field in Washington DC. Then all you haters can lick the wounds of your egoes that wanted him to fail because you can’t be him with his opportunity.

  58. chaser44 says: Mar 31, 2014 11:11 AM

    I love the guy who posts that he should sue the eagles for Libel defamation. THE EAGLES HAVE NOT SAID ONE WORD. An investigative reporter did research and qutoed LAPD officers. After Aaron Hernandez the eagles decided it was not worth the risk. On top of that he was known for not working hard or showing up for meetings, hence why his now ex teammates have not backed him up after his release.

  59. bighomiemathews24 says: Mar 31, 2014 11:16 AM

    The school janitor denies any gang ties !

  60. officialgame says: Mar 31, 2014 11:31 AM

    He is a nice kid, with a huge ego, who goes through money like it’s going out style. Very talented, loner, doesn’t work at his craft, and his gangster life style lends itself to a short career. Will make big plays but won’t go near the middle of the field. Runs with a posse he supports, has no musical talent but has cut a record on his own label. All things being equal is a perfect Redskin.

  61. rrhoe says: Mar 31, 2014 12:24 PM

    The BEagles suck as a team, and that arrrogant coach who thinks ANYBODY can succeed in his system is in for a rude awakening.

  62. cjas9298 says: Mar 31, 2014 12:47 PM

    Yes, and Serena Williams a Crip too. Remember she did the “Crip Walk” after she won the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal? Fanatical, sectarian louts.

  63. radrntn says: Mar 31, 2014 1:03 PM

    you mean he was young and dumb, never heard of anybody ever being that before…..i know my 18 year old son and 19 year old son know everything…just ask them…they will tell you so.

  64. wienerpop says: Mar 31, 2014 1:20 PM

    There would be character concerns for me if I took a picture with Michael Vick

  65. rl7911 says: Mar 31, 2014 3:15 PM

    How stupid can one be to screw up their career throwing gang signs and acting like a wannabe.

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