At first glance, DeSean Jackson and Jermaine Whitehead don’t have much in common.
Jackson is a Pro Bowl wide receiver who grew up and played college football in California. Whitehead lived in Mississippi until he played free safety at Auburn and later played for three NFL teams.
What they do have in common, though, is they both used social media as a way of making racist comments.
Eight months after offensive Twitter rants cost him his job with the Cleveland Browns, where is Whitehead now?
Jermaine Whithead played five NFL seasons
A 5-foot-11, 195-pound safety who won an SEC championship at Auburn, Jermaine Whitehead played in the NFL from 2015-19.
It wasn’t until October 2016, when Whitehead was with the Green Bay Packers, that he finally made his NFL debut. Whitehead bounced between the team’s active roster and the practice squad until Green Bay cut him in November 2018.
Whitehead signed with the Cleveland Browns after the Packers cut him. After he played off the bench in 2018, Whitehead opened the 2019 season as a stater.
Whitehead had 41 tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception through his first eight games, although the Browns were a disappointing 2-6.
The Browns cut Whitehead after his offensive Twitter rants
Jermaine Whitehead had a terrible day on November 4, 2019. He missed several tackles in a 24-19 loss to the Denver Broncos that all but knocked the Browns out of realistic postseason contention.
When Whitehead returned to the locker room, he decided to check his Twitter. What he found were threats and tweets mocking his play against the Broncos.
Whitehead went on the attack in several vulgar tweets. He told one Twitter user, “don’t get shot at” and, in another tweet, posted a racial slur used to describe white people.
Browns radio broadcaster Dustin Fox tweeted during the game that Whitehead’s tackling was a “joke.” Whitehead called Fox a “b—h” and told him, “don’t get smoked.”
The phrase “get smoked” refers to someone getting killed, according to Urban Dictionary.
Whitehead also privately messaged Twitter users. Twitter suspended his account minutes after the game ended.
The Browns cut Whitehead a day later.
Jermaine Whitehead still hasn’t been signed
As of July 2020, over eight months after the Browns cut him, Jermaine Whitehead still hasn’t been signed.
Whitehead made strides before the rough outing against Denver last year. His play and his age — Whitehead only turned 27 in March — could have earned him another contract either in Cleveland or with another team.
Whitehead’s situation is worth re-examining in light of Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson’s recent controversy. Jackson posted a picture with a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler.
The quote, which does not actually come from Hitler, featured Hitler saying Jewish people would “blackmail [and] extort America.”
Jackson issued several apologies. Neither the Eagles nor the NFL has announced if Jackson will be punished as of July 8, 2020.
Ultimately, Whitehead’s outbursts caused tremendous damage to his reputation and football career. Jackson may face a similar situation after his latest comments.
- All stats via Pro-Football-Reference