The Article: Down and Out by Jamelle Bouie in Slate.
The Text: “We didn’t run from where we grew up. We aren’t afraid to be associated with the people who came up with us.”
That’s Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks writing in defense of his friend, DeSean Jackson, who was cut from the Philadelphia Eagles amid reports of gang ties. Sherman isn’t trying to litigate the allegations or exonerate Jackson—he doesn’t know the details. But he doesn’t think it’s wrong for Jackson to associate with the men from his childhood.
And why would it be? Yes, some of them have criminal records—and for some, that includes gang activity—but leaving home is hard, and the social distance of wealth makes it even harder. As Sherman writes, “In desperate times for people who come from desperate communities, your friends become your family. I wouldn’t expect DeSean to ‘distance himself’ from anybody, as so many people suggest pro athletes ought to do despite having no understanding of what that means.”