When Malik Jackson signed with the Philadelphia Eagles shortly after the official opening of the 2019 NFL league year, he made a point to eschew the normal press conference attire for his actual high school letterman’s jacket. The point was simple and straightforward, as Jackson noted himself:
“This is my high school letterman jacket,” Jackson said during his news conference. “I wanted to show the kids that hopefully they can be up here some day and make their dreams come true.”
Message received. Jackson is a graduate of Birmingham High School in Los Angeles, where he was both a football and track star; among a host of honors, Jackson was Los Angeles Daily News All-Area Co-Defensive MVP after his senior season.
Malik Jackson wearing his high school letterman jacket, wants to show those back in LA they can get to this point: pic.twitter.com/Vimq6NUx7q
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) March 13, 2019
For Jackson, the signing of a new, massive $30 million deal is a signal that he made it, and that he’s still there. In a place like his Los Angeles, where his true roots lie, that’s a direct statement of empowerment, both economic and cultural. Jackson represents success and a concerted tie back to his roots.
That speaks volumes in Los Angeles. It speaks volumes in Philadelphia, and it speaks volumes throughout the youth football community.
Funny what a difference a little gesture can make sometimes, isn’t it?