You literally are one of my favorite players in the league. Not only because of your lightning speed and incredible talent, but also because of your jovial disposition. Last season alone was filled with nothing but career highs: 82 receptions; almost 1400 yards; 9 touchdowns. Whether up by 20, or praying for a miracle play at the last minute, you are not known to abandon play. You stick with it. You see the game to the end.
When I learned you were cut…I paused. Largely because I’ont need no more birds flying the coop! Almost to my detriment, I stay a die hard Eagles fan. But when I learned some of the circumstances surrounding why you were cut, I was intrigued on a number of different levels. Largely through the eloquent, simple, and honest op-ed written by your childhood pal, Richard Sherman, I learned that you were traded mainly due to speculation of your character. Your crew, to many folks, is nothing but a bunch of thugs. And in the great US of A., the first amendment “right to freedom of association” does not save a Pro Bowler posing in a picture with his homies from speculations of being a gangster. Birds of a feather, right?
Now, let’s get the obvious out the way: supposedly you were throwing up gang signs…and after reviewing many of your pictures, I am not so sure about the accusation. I will put the issue to rest with this: until every one on http://whitepeoplethrowinggangsigns.tumblr.com/ gets questioned by the cops, I make no judgment.
Let me just quickly encourage you and challenge you. Without getting too spiritual (which is usually code for, “I’m about to diiiivvvvveeeee in!”), don’t lose sight of how great this interception is for you. I thought how randomly relevant your story was to the sermon passage this past Sunday, which was a short one from Luke 8.
Luke 8 is a rich chapter, man:
- It has verses like “no one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar” (verse 16);
- It’s the chapter where Jesus “checks” us on what true family is, saying that his “mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice;” (verse 21)
- Jesus not only calms the storm, but looks at the “shook” disciples, asking simply “where is your faith?” (verse 25);
- And Jesus proves his omnipresent power by healing the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years straight, while also declaring that a sick young girl–whom he had not even seen yet–was healed. (verses 40-56).
Yea, Luke 8 is juicy. But my pastor read only verses 1-3, and then stopped. I kept re-reading verses 1-3 over and over but couldn’t find anything special. What looked like just an introduction, however, actually tells us a lot about how Jesus rolled. His crew that day was not only the disciples, but it also stated that JC was hanging with WOMEN. And as I am sure you know or can imagine the times: hanging with women–or should I say women hanging with men–culturally was prohibited outside of a marriage or familial relationship. Outside of this relationship, a woman was considered “loose” with no value, and could be killed for her discretion. Now add to the fact that these were not just any women, but women who were just delivered from evil spirits and diseases. Mary Magdelene, on her lonesome, had seven (which is the number of completion…which means she was a complete mess).
It is so funny how even with all his achievements–healing the blind; chasing out demons; feeding the hungry; raising the dead–that Jesus STAYED being questioned about his relevancy and power. And even amongst the jealous haters that recognized his ProBowl status, that didn’t stop them from trying to cut him any chance they could get.
But what I love about this crew was this: Mary didn’t care if she was called a slut or a ho, or even if she would be stoned to death–no stone was gonna keep her from the ROCK. And Jesus wasn’t shook by her demons, her past, or her sins. He was not going to deny her presence because of tradition or appearances. Their example shows us that there is a cost to loyalty, and there is a price for affiliation. That said, Jesus also wasn’t going to open himself up to no foolishness from the crew, either. Even good fruit at times can be surrounded by a couple spoiled ones. And at times like that, a farmer has no choice but to cut all “bad apples” down. Guilty by association is a crime committed by almost all of us at some point in time. And your actions, to those in power, warranted getting cut.
You, on the other hand, Desean, should see yourself as traded–and not just to another team. You were traded with a contract full of new and mature opportunities that maybe weren’t as apparent to you before. Without judging your buddies, this at least gave you–and all of us–a moment to think about our environments, and how we can all afford to grow a little in our circles. I don’t think it is for me to judge whether you did right or wrong–I don’t think that matters. What I hope you focus on is that your TALENT and GIFTS, many of which were freely given to you at birth, have positioned you to be worthy and valuable. That no matter what rubble you are around, you are still gold. That no matter how negative the circles in your life may be, the scarlet letter didn’t quite settle on your jersey. And most importantly, what matters is how do you…how do we…improve from where we were yesterday?
Dude, you’re 27. Young, gifted, black. (and rich!) And if you didn’t know, rebranded. You were traded up–not cut–and know that you have the highest example in Jesus to look up to. He, alone, knows your heart. HTTK—Hail. To. The. KING.