Posted: 9:03 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013
I'm going to preface this by saying this isn't going to turn into an out-of-control message board, anger-fueled, race-baiting thread. There are plenty of places you can do that ... this won't be one of them. If that's your goal, take it elsewhere.
So, by now you've likely either seen the Riley Cooper video or heard about it. And if not, the tl;dr version is Cooper, a white Eagles receiver, went to a country music concert, and got angry at a black security guard for reportedly not letting him backstage. He then fired off a statement about fighting every 'N-word' here.
I'm not going to post the video simply because it doesn't really have a place here and it's a bitter reminder of how far we have to go as a country in terms of respecting others. But if you want to check it out, Google is your friend.
Since it's not Pitt-related, really, I obviously had no plan to write anything about it. Just another idiot probably too liquored up that spoke what was on his mind. And what was on his mind was fighting a bunch of black people. But then former Pitt running back Lesean McCoy commented, so I thought that was worth mentioning:
"I forgive him. We've been friends for a long time," the running back said Thursday. "But in a situation like this, you really find out about someone. Just on a friendship level, I can't really respect someone like that."
McCoy said his relationship with Cooper no longer will extend beyond the football field and there's nothing Cooper can do to change that.
"Ain't nothing to prove. He said how he felt," McCoy said, according to CSNPhilly.com. "He's still a teammate. I'm still going to block for him. I'm still gonna show great effort. Just on a friendship level, and as a person, I can't really respect somebody like that. I think as a team, we need to move past it. There are some things that are going to be hard to work with, to be honest."
First things first, every (insert N-word) here? Dude, I've been to country music concerts and trust me - I was like the only black guy there. That wouldn't exactly have been a major achievement.
Back to it. The NFL isn't going to fine/suspend him, and I don't think they should. I get the whole 'representing the Shield' thing 24/7 and for crimes, that makes sense. But this was a racist statement uttered by someone clearly unashamed to utter the word ... but that didn't really get beyond Cooper saying something he surely wishes he could take back. Hey, if you want to be a jackass, why should I get in your way?
The real issue, though, is with teammates - and that's where Cooper will suffer.
Publicly, most of the Eagles from what I heard are saying all the right things. But that's not something easily forgotten and there's no doubt that Cooper has his fair share of enemies on the team now.
Being fully honest here, but man, I just don't see how he stays with the team. If not for the Jeremy Maclin season-ending injury, he'd have even less of a chance of staying. That's not to say the Eagles will release him, but I don't see how it successfully works out.
I have no doubt that guys will be good teammates to him on the field. Guys will block for him and treat him no differently because they want to win games. Cooper's success (or lack thereof) affects that. But honestly, if you're Cooper, how would you like being in a locker room where a large contingent simply doesn't like you? I've got to think that would make an awful long season.
This, too, shall pass. Almost everything does. But in the short term, it's going to be tough for him because I would be very surprised if nearly every black guy on the team didn't feel the way Shady did. If you think there won't be flare-ups at practices that are already heated enough, think again. Someone (or more likely, some people) will remind him during practice of the slur. This isn't something going away anytime soon.
Will be interesting to see how this plays out.