Philly Sports Live

An Example Needs to Be Made – Riley Cooper Uses Racial Slur

A price to pay for the glory, riches, and fame of the NFL lifestyle is lack of privacy. Unfortunately, Riley Cooper has learned that lesson today, as video of his insensitive comments during a recent Kenny Chesney concert has surfaced on the internet. In the video, Cooper uses a racial slur – this is after another incident was reported to have occurred that night in the parking lot as well.

Riley was extremely quick to Twitter to post an apology, but the damage has been done. TV, radio, and social media are repeating the comments, and the reaction has been awful. A recent tweet from NFL Columnist Mike Freeman says it all:

“Eagles player tells me via text both black and white players are incensed over Riley Cooper’s words. Some players want him off team…” – @mikefreemanNFL

In the wake of Jeremy Maclin’s ACL tear, Riley Cooper was slotted in as the number two receiver on the team, and he had been running with the first team players for the past few days in practice. All of a sudden, he goes from probable starter to a likely candidate to be cut.

And tonight, he should go from “likely candidate to be cut” to “former employee.”

With comments like this coming out, it is extremely likely that Cooper has strained his relationship with a lot of his teammates (and of course, judging by Mike Freeman’s tweet, it seems he has). From a football standpoint alone, training camp is a point during the season where coaches look to build on team chemistry. From a public relations standpoint, it’s difficult to put a band-aid on such a touchy subject.

Most people won’t see Cooper’s apology as sincere, and it’s hard to imagine that a Twitter-released block of less than 500 words can make up for an emotionally charged derogatory statement caught on video. Fans have a right to be offended. Does a receiving touchdown or two during the season erase Riley’s comment? No, it doesn’t. It’s extremely difficult to cheer for or invest in a team or player when there is tension such as this involved. Many people are still outraged that Michael Vick is a player on this team – and we’re four years removed from his signing.

That is why the Eagles have to do the right thing here and cut ties with Cooper. To show respect to his teammates, to the fans, and to show that insensitive comments aren’t something that the organization will stand behind (or brush to the side.) The team wants Chip Kelly’s first season to go as smoothly as possible, and they also want to revive fan interest in the team. To make those strides with the fans, they’ll have to cut ties with a player who made extremely poor judgement, and who took his fame too lightly.