Riley Cooper, the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver positioned to take over for Jeremy Maclin after he suffered a torn ACL in training camp, will not be punished by the league for the racist remarks he made in the above video.
However insensitive the language used by Cooper at the Kenny Chesney concert in Philadelphia this summer was, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has revealed that the league has no plans to punish the wide receiver for his comments. The league cannot really punish Cooper as he is protected by aspects of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with players.
The Philadelphia Eagles do not have to abide by the same rules that the league as a whole has to in terms of punishing the racist comments. Cooper has been fined an undisclosed amount by the Eagles as a result of his comments.
Admittedly an insensitive and brainless slip of the tongue by Riley Cooper, his racist remarks are difficult for to punish in this day and age. Given how often that word is used in casual conversation in black culture, punishing one person for saying it would set a precedent where the league could be pressured to punish every player who uses the word. No easy task.
It is an awful word that no one should be saying, it is a major part of a substantial black mark on our nation’s history, however with how widespread its use has become it would be incredibly difficult to punish a player for uttering it. No matter how terrible the video is.
Even the woman who was near him in the video pointed out the harsh nature of the comments, pointing out the “hard r” at the end of the racial slur repeatedly in the video.
Since the video went viral, Riley Cooper has apologized to his teammates and fans for his racist remarks at the concert. “This is the lowest of lows,” Cooper said. “This is not the type of person I want to be portrayed as. This isn’t the type of person I am. I’m extremely sorry.”
A former teammate of Tim Tebow’s at the University of Florida, Cooper actually was a roommate of the pious passer during their time in college. So far there has been no comment from Tebow on the incident. He was a fifth round pick by the Eagles and is entering his fourth season in the league.
His apology appears to have worked in the Philadelphia locker room. Michael Vick, no stranger to controversy himself, informed reporters that he has already forgiven Cooper. “As a team we understood because we all make mistakes in life and we all do and say things that maybe we do mean and maybe we don’t mean,” said Vick. “But as a teammate I forgave him. We understand the magnitude of the situation. We understand a lot of people may be hurt and offended, but I know Riley Cooper. I know him as a man. I’ve been with him for the last three years and I know what type of person he is. That’s what makes it easy, and at the same time, hard to understand. But easy to forgive him.”
An incident that is sure to cause a media firestorm for the next few days, if Riley Cooper is truly sorry for his comments, and his teammates forgive him for his racist remarks, this will only be a blip on the Philadelphia Eagles season this year. If Cooper can put this behind him and move forward while making the most of an increased role in the offense, the Eagles will soon be the subject of playoff conversation and not an incident at a summer concert.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express