Riley Cooper, the embattled Philadelphia Eagles receiver, was given a vote of confidence from QB Mike Vick Wednesday, but it seems like the rest of the team has yet to forgive him for saying the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert in June.
Ashley Fox, a longtime voice in Philadelphia who now writes for ESPN, said the following about Thursday’s Eagles practice:
After every drill Riley Cooper ran in practice Thursday, he jogged to the sideline and stood by himself. He didn’t interact with teammates. He didn’t talk. He was a man among 89 others, yet he was alone.
Kelly said that in assessing punishment for Cooper — the team swiftly fined him an undisclosed amount of money Wednesday — he never considered taking Cooper’s roster spot from him.
He will have to reconsider.
This issue isn’t going anywhere. It is living in the locker room.
The NFL – heck, maybe sports – has never seen anything like this. A player, on video, caught saying a racial slur? We discussed the Kerry Collins moment Thursday, but there was no video. (It – along with alcohol – still sent his career into a downward spiral for a few years.)
A few years ago, Kobe Bryant was caught on camera during a game calling a referee a “fucking faggot,” and that was a big deal for a few days. That word is a hurtful one, but not nearly as bad as the one Riley Cooper used, obviously.
Apologies were made.
In a slow sports week, Riley Cooper’s reprehensible utterance has been the only story. PTI opened with it at 5:30 on Wednesday, and Cooper has been the No. 1 topic of Sportscenter since. (It led PTI on Thursday, too.) Cooper, who told the media he didn’t eat or sleep Wednesday, is probably praying MLB drops the PED hammer on players today, just so the media can talk about something else, for a moment. When the media horde in Philly thins out, and the questions stop only being about the N-word, perhaps players can slowly but surely begin to forgive Cooper.
How big of a deal is Riley Cooper saying the N-word? I don’t think anyone has mentioned Johnny Manziel’s name in two days.
Related: LeSean McCoy Chooses Not to Run Anymore Against Michael Vick, Claiming a False Start
Related: Kerry Collins Used the N-Word at Training Camp While Drunk with Carolina Teammates in 1997. A Year Later, He Was Gone to New Orleans
Related: Riley Cooper of the Eagles Got Angry and Racial at a Kenny Chesney Concert [UPDATE: Cooper Apologizes]