Eagles

Eagles' DeSean Jackson shares custom cleats honoring George Floyd

Eagles' DeSean Jackson shares custom cleats honoring George Floyd

Eagles veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson has been putting his personal platform to good use amid the ongoing national protests against institutional racism in the United States.

On Thursday, Jackson combined his love of football with his desire to keep speaking out for justice.

Jackson shared a pair of custom cleats dedicated to George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who was killed in Minneapolis last month by a police officer in an incident caught on camera. The officer kneeled on his neck for an extended period of time while Floyd was handcuffed.

The cleats, designed by Florida-based artist Marcus Rivero, include a number of design elements. 

On the outside of the left shoe, Floyd's face is painted over a tie-dye background. On the outside of the right shoe, the amount of time the police officer spent kneeling on Floyd's neck is painted over the same background.

On the inside of the right shoe, the phrase "No justice, no peace" is painted in cursive over a football-colored background. On the inside of the left shoe, a raised fist and the initials "B.L.M." for Black Lives Matter is painted over the same background.

And the designs on the toes combined to display the phrase, "I can't breathe again", a reference to Floyd's last words, and the shirts protesters wore in 2014 after the killing of Eric Garner in New York City.

Here's a look:

Jackson added this caption to the photos of the cleats:

"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 !! @_stak5_ let’s fight the fight bro ✊🏾 @solesbysir 🔥 #nojusticenopeace #georgefloyd"

Earlier this spring, Jackson spoke up about racism during an Eagles team meeting shortly after Floyd's death.

Eagles center Jason Kelce said Jackson's words about Floyd, and about racism, were so moving that he felt compelled to speak out himself.

It's unclear if Jackson plans on wearing the cleats for football purposes during the 2020 preseason or regular season.

The NFL changed its rules in 2017, allowing players to wear custom-designed cleats during pre-game warm-ups, though there were restrictions, including not allowing designs taht are "political or offensive in any way".

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently issued a statement apologizing for the league's past treatment of peaceful protests by players, and encouraging players to speak out. It's unclear if his encouragement extends to cleats designed to send a societal message.

Jackson has a history of wearing custom cleats as a way of expressing himself. Last season, Jackson wore custom-designed cleats to honor his friend, rapper and community leader Nipsey Hussle, after Hussle's death.

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Can the NFL really pull off a football season with COVID-19 lurking?

Can the NFL really pull off a football season with COVID-19 lurking?

The Eagles have three players on the COVID-19 list, they’ve got an all-pro right tackle who tested positive, they have a head coach who’s quarantined at home in South Jersey after testing positive and they’ve got a quarterbacks coach who was sent home because he was in close proximity to the head coach.

And practice hasn’t even started yet.

How do you play football like this?

We would all love to see the NFL find a way to play a 16-game season plus playoffs this fall, but each passing day brings more and more issues and more and more questions and more and more doubt that it can be done.

By all accounts, the Eagles took every imaginable precaution to make the NovaCare Complex incredibly safe, and still Pederson contracted the virus. If he got it inside the building, then obviously even the most strongest safety precautions weren’t enough. And if he got it outside the building, that just shows how risky it is to try to play team sports during a pandemic without a bubble.

We’re still about five weeks from opening day, so presumably Pederson, Lane Johnson, Press Taylor and Nate Gerry will all be back with the team long before that. Of that group, Johnson is the only one we know has tested positive. 

You would hope Matt Stafford and Gardner Minshew, the two starting QBs who’ve landed on the COVID list, would be back by then.

But other head coaches and other starting quarterbacks and other star players are going to test positive. And they’re going to miss games. And with positive tests and opt-outs and practice squad replacements it’s very possible that some NFL teams aren’t going to resemble what we thought they would be a few months ago.

If the season started today, who would the Eagles’ right tackle be? I have no idea. Andre Dillard after last year’s Seattle disaster? Matt Pryor? Prince Tega Wanogho? 

A lot of teams are going to face those sorts of questions if there’s a football season. That’s the reality. It’s inevitable. 

Here’s what I don’t get.

Even if teams keep positive tests down for now with social distancing, masks in the building, Zoom meetings and multiple locker rooms, what happens on Aug. 17?

You can have as many socially distant walkthroughs as you want. But at some point you have to prepare for a football season. 

And that means contact. Lots of it.

What happens when the Eagles start practicing for real on Aug. 17 with full pads and live periods and hitting and blocking and tackling? 

You can’t social distance when you’re in pads running goal-line and short yardage. You basically have 22 guys piling on top of each other play after play. 

Pederson said he expects more live scrimmages at practice this summer to make up for the absence of preseason games. 

How can you safely run full-speed, full-contract scrimmages with players who may have contracted the virus but haven’t yet tested positive? 

And then multiply that once games start and there are 75 plays a game - times 16 games a week? With full contact? Without a bubble? And without instant testing results?

Can this work?

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred threatened to shut down MLB a week into the season because of all the positive tests. 

The NFL faces the same challenges as MLB with larger rosters and infinitely more contact.

We’ll have a month between the start of live practice on Aug. 18 and opening day on Sept. 13.

If the positive tests are few and far between two weeks into padded practices, then it’s full speed ahead, let’s try to have an NFL season.

If this thing spirals out of control by late August, then it’s time to pull the plug.

 

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Eagle Eye podcast: Doug Pederson tests positive for COVID-19

Eagle Eye podcast: Doug Pederson tests positive for COVID-19

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro react to the news that Doug Pederson tested positive for COVID-19. 

What does this mean for the Eagles short-term and long-term? The guys break down possible replacements for every coach on the roster by positions. Time to revisit the idea of quarantining a quarterback for 2020. 

The opt-out deadline keeps changing. And the Eagles are entering a new phase of training camp this week. 

  • (0:15) — Doug Pederson tests positive for COVID-19.
  • (15:28) — Eagles have built-in backups for every coach on their roster
  • (22:24) — Opt-out deadline and terms.
  • (29:02) — Training camp is ramping up.
     

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More on the Eagles