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In 1969, the NFL forced Namath to sell his New York nightclub because of “gang” connections.

Oh, we may look at Mafia gang connections differently than the Bloods and the Crips today, thanks to Mario Puzo and his Godfather story that personalized the Mafia into the American immigrant success story. But the business — drugs, prostitution — is still the same, as are the victims.

Jackson may have been questioned, as reports claim, about his knowledge of a suspected gang-related shooting in 2010 — though, according to, he was not a witness nor was part of the case.

Namath was questioned in 1969 about some of his regular customers at Bachelor’s III, the New York nightclub he owned — mobsters, one of them being Carmine “Junior” Persico, a Columbo family hit man who was reportedly involved in the murder of crime boss Alberta Anastasia, among others, and was facing numerous federal racketeering charges when he was hanging out at Namath’s club. He went to prison nearly 20 years later for murder, extortion, and other charges.

According to Mark Kriegel’s excellent Namath biography, New York police told the NFL that Namath’s bar was a hangout for “con men, fences, bookmakers and of course made men.”

NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle told Namath he had to sell the club. Namath initially refused and publicly declared his retirement — this coming on the heels of the Super Bowl III victory. But Namath relented and sold the club

“Continuation of such associations after learning of a person’s undesirable background is cause for deep concern,” Rozelle said in a statement. “Such conduct gives the appearance of evil.”

We’re not hearing any proclamations of “evil” coming out of Roger Goodell’s office about Jackson, so how truly bad were the Eagles‘ fears about Jackson’s alleged gang connections?

DeSean Jackson’s biggest crime may have been he didn’t want to connect with Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly’s gang.

Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and