The NFL Players Association is investigating whether the Eagles smeared DeSean Jackson before releasing him a week ago today.
“On the issue of how he was released, whether or not there were comments or leaks from the team, misinformation to the media coming from the team, that’s something that we’re going to look at,” said NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith on Mike and Mike (via Pro Football Talk). We’ve always been aggressive about protecting the integrity of our players.”
An NJ.com article that was posted shortly before Jackson was released discussed possible gang ties by Jackson. The situation drew the attention of the union because an anonymous Eagles official was quoted in the article saying that Jackson was a bad influence on younger players. The article could have depressed Jackson’s market value.
The situation is similar to one that took place during the season with Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman. The union is investigating the possibility that team officials leaked derogatory information about Freeman.
“We went into a deep investigation that’s continuing about Josh Freeman, and the comments that we believe came from team management or the coaches, and that’s an investigation that’s ongoing and we’re going to aggressively pursue it,” Smith said. “If we believe that someone at the team did something impermissible we’re going to be seeking significant discipline against those individuals. We look at that situation as similar to this one.”
The Eagles have said nothing publicly about Jackson since issuing a short statement saying that he had been informed of his release. They may remain mum as long as this investigation is ongoing.