Martin Luther King Jr. High School (Philadelphia, PA) football coach Ed Dunn will be in The War Room this Thursday, May 22nd, to discuss the importance of youth and scholastic sports in America! Coach Dunn was recently featured in the ESPN/Dick’s Sporting Goods documentary “We Could Be King”, which received rave reviews at the renowned Tribeca Film Festival.
Tune in Thursday, May 22nd at 6pm ET to hear our conversation with Coach Dunn! To tune in, go to www.WarRoomSports.com and click the “Listen Live” button…or dial 323-410-0012 to listen LIVE by phone.
In the meantime, check your local listings and “On-Demand” for additional showings of “We Could Be King” and check out this New York Times article about the documentary HERE.
Finally, if you own an Android phone or tablet…an I-Phone, I-Pad, or I-Pod, please go to your Google Play and/or App Store and download the FREE War Room Sports mobile app (just search “War Room Sports”)! It’s the VERY BEST way to stay up on all of our media content from one central location!
Scandal! Did former Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha marry “Scandal” star Kerry Washington?
The depths of the disappointment that was CB Nnamdi Asomugha’s career with the Philadelphia Eagles cannot be overstated. When his time with the Birds ended earlier this year, no fan of the midnight green shed a tear.
We have yet to see if Nnamdi will deliver the same underwhelming coverage for the 49ers defense this season, but his personal life is on the uptick with his return to the West Coast. E! reports that the defensive back and “Scandal” star actress Kerry Washington are now married.
Not exactly a Scandal, but this is certainly a surprise!
“Kerry Washington married San Francisco 49ers cornerback Nnamdi Asomughaon June 24 in Blaine County, Idaho, E! News exclusively confirms.”
Gayle Jackson, speaking at a press conference about “The Making of a Father’s Dream” held at St. Joseph’s University. (Photo by Roy Burton)
I had an opportunity to speak with Gayle Jackson, DeSean Jackson’s mother, after a private screening of the documentary “The Making of a Father’s Dream,” which was released on Father’s Day. How did it feel to relive such emotional moments in her family’s history, and for the world to be see such a different side of her NFL star son?
The film is the product of 18 years of footage taken by Byron Jackson, DeSean’s older brother, from when DeSean was just five years old through his time in the NFL. Byron joined up with Kip (producer) and Kern (director) Konwiser to shape the footage into the compelling story presented in “A Father’s Dream.” But in addition to their collective talents, Mrs. Jackson believes that a higher power had a hand in bringing the film to life.
Even while his father, Bill Jackson, was dying, Byron said in the film, he was compelled to keep taking footage, though he didn’t know why. It was a sort of therapy to help him come to terms with the quick and fatal reality that was the pancreatic cancer that ultimately took his father’s life. Ultimately, the family was too close to the story to see the powerful messages contained in the footage. Said Gayle of the years of footage and how she reacted when presented with the idea of the documentary,
“God puts you in touch with who you need. I say it was spiritual. He [Byron] got put in touch with Kip and Kern [Konwiser], and they were able to take what Byron had and put it in such a way to present this story. There was a void of positive black role models, all these guys [in Team Jackson] didn’t have fathers in their lives and Bill was the father figure. It all got put together in to what you see [in the film], and it’s a message now. It’s bigger than you can ever imagine.”
The very fact that the tidbits of their lives came together to form such a cohesive, powerful story—about a father’s love for his family and a shared passion to fulfill a dream—was more than just the talent of the filmmakers, in Mrs. Jackson’s mind.
“Sometimes you don’t always know what you want to do with your life, but, if you have faith and believe and line yourself up and do what God says you’re supposed to do, then he’ll order your steps. I really believe that this project was almost predestined. Somehow, it’s like Bill knew. He’s not here anymore so he made all of these predictions. We thought he was crazy. We thought he was out of his mind. We didn’t know but he knew. It took his passing to figure it out.”
In telling its compelling tale, the film shows another side of DeSean Jackson than we’ve seen previously. Any good documentary explores and uncovers different sides of its subjects, and “A Father’s Dream” is no different. But what does it feel like to see her son exposed in such a different light, contrary to what many perceive of the confident NFL star?
“I think it will clear up some of those misconceptions…When I hear those comments, I think, We know the truth. A lot of those things that people say, like he’s cocky, he’s this, he’s that—they don’t know the real DeSean. And if you knew the real DeSean you wouldn’t say those things. So I have to kind of dismiss it, turn my ear to it and turn a blind eye to it, because we know the truth. This kid has the biggest heart. If he could help everyone in the whole wide world he would do it.”
“The Making of a Father’s Dream” is now available and can be seen on inDemand, Comcast, Verizon Fios, and other cable systems around the country. Please check your local listings for details.
Whether or not you consider yourself to be a fan of DeSean Jackson or even the Philadelphia Eagles, the documentary “The Making of a Father’s Dream“ is worth a watch for anyone ranging from football fanatics to those who appreciate a compelling family story.
As the tagline of the film, “It takes a village to catch a break,” indicates, the documentary is about so much more than DeSean. It’s about family. Parenthood. Siblings, both by blood and by friendship. It’s about football and the drive and determination to fulfill a dream. It’s a story that portrays a father’s love for his family and vice versa.
Though we now know Jackson as a wideout with a swagger, this film helps you understand where that stance comes from. What is interpreted by some as arrogance is actually an unshakeable confidence that Jackson has in himself and his abilities. The movie introduces you to an entirely different side of the man who refers to himself as “D-Jack”.
Bill Jackson’s overwhelming desire to have a son play in the NFL pushed him away from older son Bryon for a time after an incident where Bill held a gun to Byron’s head after his son told him that, after two years in the NFL on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad, he was ready to fulfill another dream–to be a filmmaker. But Bill’s determination kept him close with DeSean and allowed him to be “Pops” to several men without father figures who just missed out on achieving their own athletic aspirations but came together to help DeSean fulfill his. This group, comprised of Darrick Davis, Irving Booker, Gary Cablayan and Travis Clark–to this day is known as “Team Jackson.”
The film features DeSean from five years of age, when older brother Byron began pursuing his love of filmmaking through the start of his NFL career. We see a small but talented and energetic DeSean in Pop Warner, showing an ability that put him far above his peers even then. We witness family sacrifice with, mom Gayle moving from Atlanta to LA so that Jackson could attend NFL manufacturing powerhouse Long Beach Polytech High School.
We witness how the desire for independence after DeSean begins attending Cal almost pulls the receiver away from Team Jackson as they develop an intensive summer workout routine for him without his input. But ultimately, he knows that they are all striving towards the same goal and he completes the grueling training schedule.
And that’s what makes this particular story special. With DeSean, it wasn’t just Bill who wanted to see the dream of his son being in the NFL fulfilled. This son’s passion matched the desire of his father. And that’s what made it work.
Bill Jackson is not presented with a soft, fuzzy lens. His positive qualities—his love, humor, strength and drive–are shown right along with those that were not his best –notably, when the pursuit of his son’s dreams became overbearing for others. DeSean had to walk a difficult line at Cal between team and family when his father publicly criticized the lack of playing time his son received. In fact, the Bill factor is why many believe that DeSean, widely believed to be a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, fell to the second round before being selected by Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles.
A particularly interesting scene shows Jackson on the phone with Reid after being drafted and coming back into the room with his family to announce that, although DeSean thought it was rude, Reid told the rookie, “don’t bring your dad around here, we don’t want that kind of trouble.”
But it was a call that had to be made. This was now DeSean’s journey to make.
That didn’t keep Bill from beaming with pride and telling the world about his son’s success. He paraded around Pittsburgh, his hometown, in a #10 Jackson jersey along with a Terrible Towel. When asked about it, he tells Steelers fans that he’s a lifelong fan of the black and yellow, but he’s an Eagles fan now because his son plays for the team. The level of pride Bill has at his son’s accomplishment virtually jumps off the screen.
The combination of Jackson with Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb gave DeSean a stellar rookie year, becoming the leading receiver on the team and helping the Birds make the NFC Championship game his rookie year. But that professional success was bittersweet, as Bill is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer early in the season, a particularly lethal and fast-striking form of the disease. The once powerful Bill is transformed into a much thinner, frailer version of himself. Shown lying in his hospital bed, he wears an Eagles knit cap with #10 Jackson jersey draped across his legs, reminded of his son’s success as he tries to fight the disease with what little strength he has left.
Bill passed away in May of 2009 and we witness Pops’ ashes become one with the ocean, spread by the family who knew how much he loved the sea.
Jackson’s second season was also bittersweet against the lens of his father—a tremendous year that led him to become the first player in history to be selected in two positions for the Pro Bowl—both wide receiver and punt returner—but an achievement that his father never witnessed. But Bill was there—the game was played on what would have been his 65th birthday.
Bill’s tragic end inspired Jackson to create the DeSean Jackson Foundation, an organization which seeks to bring awareness and research funding for pancreatic cancer. Hearing Jackson and his mother speak about the Foundation demonstrates that it is a cause that brings the same passion we see from the player on the field into his off -field work.
“The Making of a Father’s Dream” is the ultimate Father’s Day tribute to Bill Jackson. Though he is not here to see the film, his presence and impact loom large in the 18 years of footage that culminated in the creation of the documentary. Check out a preview below.
The film is now available and can be seen on inDemand, Comcast, Verizon Fios, and other cable systems around the country. Please check your local listings for details.