DeSean Jackson's high school athletic director and counselor came to his defense against allegations of gang affiliations.
"DeSean is a great guy -- he was a sweet kid when he was in high school, always very polite and respectful with me," said Debbie Hughes, Jackson's counselor at Long Beach Poly, according to the Press Telegram. "There was no gang activity with him. He wasn't in a gang. That's not to say other students weren't, but DeSean definitely wasn't one of them."
Rob Shock, the Poly AD added: "Every single year during his bye week he comes back and talks to the kids and goes to a game. He's always had a big heart -- it just feels like somebody out there is trying to tear him down. ... DeSean hasn't done anything, he hasn't committed any crimes."
Former Poly coach Raul Lara was quoted in the NJ.com story as saying Jackson "started to hang around some not-so-good people" after his father died, said his comments were taken out of context and had nothing to do with gang affiliations.
"Gangbanger, what the hell is that about? He's not a gangbanger," Lara told the PressTelegram.com. "All I was saying was that it was a tragic part of his life when his father died," Lara said. "He's not a gangbanger, I don't know where they're getting that from, and I didn't say that he was. I was close with his dad and I know that when his dad passed it really hit him."