Eagles WR Speaks Out on Racism, Reveals Bold Uniform Change

DeSean Jackson

Getty Eagles WR DeSean Jackson caught nine passes for 159 yards and two scores in an injury-plagued 2019 season.

Players are speaking up for social justice reform in the wake of George Floyd’s death. And sometimes actions speak louder than words.

DeSean Jackson revealed that he will pay tribute to the Minnesota man killed by police brutality by wearing custom cleats emblazoned with Floyd’s face and the words: 0 hrs 8 min 46 sec (the length of time Floyd couldn’t breathe while a cop knelt on his neck). Jackson captioned an Instagram post showing the colorful shoes (rainbow graffiti, with the inscription “Can’t Breathe”) by saying: “I’m making my mark, Regardless of the feedback. I’m taking a stance on justice & using my platform to stand for what’s right!”

The statement capped a monumental two weeks of protesting in Philadelphia and across the country as professional athletes use their public platforms to help turn the tide of racial inequality and systemic racism. Jackson has been among the most outspoken on the matter, too. The Eagles’ top receiver called out a local radio host for what he felt were insensitive comments, then spoke bluntly about his own experiences dealing with racism in America.

“Since I was growing up as a kid, I can’t tell you anytime that I’m in the car and a police officer stops me or pulls me over how afraid I am that if I move wrong or I make a wrong gesture I might be shot and killed,” Jackson told NBC10’s John Clark, via Penn Live. “It’s just built up so long of seeing senseless killings so it’s like every time I’m pulled over I’m afraid it might happen to me. And for me, I have three boys that I raised, and I can’t tell you how much I’m afraid for them to grow up in this world that we’re living in now.”

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Jackson Spoke Up at Eagles’ Virtual Team Meeting

Jackson’s activism has helped educate his teammates on what exactly the black community is outraged over. He led a discussion on race during a virtual team meeting, one in which Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and head coach Doug Pederson yielded the floor to Jackson.

“They made their voice be heard,” Jackson said of his teammates and the organization. “They used their platform. They used their resources.”

The conversation was both productive and necessary for everyone to come together as a team. Eagles center Jason Kelce credited Jackson for making him understand the need for white players to speak out on the subject.

“Until now, I’ve been holding off making a post regarding George Floyd and the protests going on around our country,” Kelce wrote. “The cynical side of me questions people’s motives and gets infuriated at people exploiting another man’s death for attention or a social media trend. But after hearing some discussion today at our team meeting, in particular from Desean Jackson, I now believe I have an obligation as an influential member of our community to share my thoughts. Thank you guys for your words and discussion today.”

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