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DeSean Jackson says he's not flashing gang signs

Redskins receiver says he's paying respect to friends Aaron Wilson

Print This June 28, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

Is Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson flashing gang signs?

Despite articles to the contrary and comments from Los Angeles homicide detectives saying he has ties to gang members, Jackson says his hand gestures are a sign of respect to his friends he grew up with in California.

“If I score a touchdown or make a play and my boys at home can see me throwing up the area we’re from, that’s me showing them love,” Jackson told ESPN The Magazine. “They weren’t fortunate enough to make it where I’m at. All my friends wanted to be in the NFL growing up, but they weren’t able to do that, and I was. That doesn’t mean I forgot about them. They’re my boys, I grew up with them, and I’m going to give them love.”

A police detective would beg to differ.

“Those were neighborhood Crip gang signs and he flashed them during a game," the detective told NJ.com. "He may not be affiliated with the gang, but they don’t [ordinarily] take kindly to those not in the gang throwing up those gang signs."

Jackson's mother, Gayle, said her son is very loyal to his friends.

"Those guys gravitated toward him because he had structure in his life," she said. "A lot of time I was trying to chase these cats away. I told him it would catch up with him and that people don't understand, so he should leave those guys alone. He told me, 'Mom, you can't treat people like that.'"

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

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