DeSean Jackson strangly unpunished for truthfulness

August 21, 2012, 2:55 pm
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DeSean Jacksons admission that he was saving himself last year for a new contract seems not to have gone over very well. Or very poorly, for that matter. Evidently we have reached the point in human development where the frank telling of an obviously unpleasant truth can sometimes mitigate punishment.The former Cal star who now toils for the Philadelphia Eagles had points deducted for admitting he didnt give his all in all situations in 2011 for fear that it might jeopardize a future contract but got them back by doing what so many other players havent done in similar situations he admitted it.The reaction to this seeming revelation was odd in that it wasnt regarded as a revelation at all. Most pro football observers (as in, people who get paid to watch pro football) felt theyd already observed it and sussed out the reason, thereby making Jacksons admission more pro forma than damning.And while coaches across the country may be swallowing their faces in apoplexy at the notion that an important player admitted he took plays off to protect himself for payday, the realities of professional football have somehow tamped down the level of outrage among those who regard themselves as being in the community.In other words, it went like this:I didnt play hard all the time because I didnt want to get hurt and screw myself out of the new contract I wanted.Well, thats kind of creepy, but I already figured it out, I get why you did it, and at least you didnt lie to me about it.Thats an evolutionary moment of sorts. In the past, Jackson would have been cut, or at the very least suspended (he was deactivared for one game and benched for another), and there would have been a long line of media types who would praise the team for having dealt so harshly with the miscreant. And upon his return, the quote would have been rubbed in his face at every opportunity:Well, I dont know if he went all out for that one, but he has a history of not doing so.Or:He went all out for that one, which he didnt always do in the past.And that part may still happen. After all, the beast must fed, and the beast eats 24752. When the topic of DeSean Jackson comes up, there will be oblique references to the year he played at less than 100 percent commitment and results in 2011.But there are no signs of overt rage anywhere, even in the places where you would expect it most. Say, like Philadelphia, where overt rage is often the first move in a seduction attempt.Oh, there may be some fans who are furious about Jacksons words matching his lack of deeds, and we choose not to generalize where specificity is required. But our search turned up very little public anger about a guy who admitted he let his contract situation and the need to play safe to protect it affect his performance.And were talking here only about the reaction, not the deed. The deed stands on its own, and you can fulminate it as all you want without any help from us.Maybe people have a greater understanding of the short shelf life of NFL players and the hard facts of a game whose dangers typically far outweigh the securities. Maybe DeSean Jackson is just a more charming fellow than most. And maybe its just August fatigue in a football season that now never ends.All we know for sure is this. DeSean Jackson was honest about something players usually are afraid to be honest about and in a business that despises honesty, is not being held to the fire for that forthrightness. I guess hes just the magician who explains the trick afterward everyone likes to be in on a dirty little secret now and then.And we mean now and then in the "not very often at all" way. A steady diet of honesty when it comes to football never seems to please anyone.Ray Ratto is a columnist for