DeSean Jackson played the 2011 season for the Philadelphia Eagles with a gigantic chip on his shoulder. His main beef was that he was being underpaid by the Eagles and wanted a new contract.
However, unlike most professional athletes who have a chip on their shoulders, he didn't use it as motivation to do his best and to prove his worth. He did just the opposite.
He made himself a distraction on and off the field. He missed team meetings, gave up on his routes, short-armed passes and ignored any blocking assignments he may have had. As a punt returner, he fair-caught punts he would normally try to return to the house.
1) He wanted more money and would not play up to his best until he got paid.
2) He was afraid to get hurt and jeopardize potential future earnings.
Welcome to America in 2012.
His behavior became so egregious that the Eagles suspended him from a must-win game against the Arizona Cardinals in November. It was a game that the Eagles lost, a game they could've won with DeSean and a game that would've sent them to the playoffs had they won.
How did the Eagles reward such prima donna, bad behavior? They cut him a check for 51 million dollars.
That his lousy play in 2011—and make no mistake, it was lousy—was due to his contract status is not theory or speculation: The man admitted as much.
Great message there, Eagles. Shirk your responsibilities, let your teammates, fans and employers down and then prepare yourself to take a right-hand turn on to Easy Street as a result.
The Eagles are a far cry from the ethical, moral "Gold Standard" they saw themselves as at the beginning of the century.
A team that once cut Damon Moore and Thomas Hammer for suspicion of animal cruelty now hand a sociopath who tortured and murdered pitbulls a check for 100 million dollars.
Andy Reid, who once made George Hegamin push a tackling sled down the field in 80-degree heat before cutting him for going AWOL on a training camp session, now makes DeSean Jackson a multi-millionaire for going AWOL on an entire season.
The hypocrisy of the Eagles should not be surprising. They are a desperate team that will do anything for a Super Bowl at this point, and Andy Reid is a desperate man who is barely clinging to his job.
DeSean Jackson, who absolutely quit on his team in 2011, believes he will have a monster year in 2012. This of course ignores a very poignant message that anyone whoever saw The Bad News Bears knows: "This quitting thing, it's a hard habit to break once you start."
Jackson guarantees at least one Super Bowl victory over the course of his five-year contract; he reasons this because he claims the team has been close the past four years. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.
The team hasn't been close to a Super Bowl since Kevin Curtis dropped a first-down pass that hit him in the hands to end the 2008 NFC Championship Game. In the end, though, does it really matter? After all, DeSean got "his" and if he really cared about team goals he wouldn't have skated heartlessly through the 2011 season.
He's said he considers Andy Reid to be a second father, which I suppose is an apt allegory. I mean, who hasn't disobeyed his father and put his father's livelihood and job in jeopardy over money?
Jackson, of course, is making the rounds with all of the media now. The day after signing his deal he was on Mike Missanelli's show on 97.5 sports radio, where he encouraged "the haters" and "the doubters" to keep it coming. Their negativity inspired him—almost as much as money, I assume—and the louder they get, the better he'll play.
Don't worry, DeSean, something tells me you'll be hearing plenty of both all next season.