WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – On Wednesday, Philly blog Crossing Broad made the world aware of an alarming video featuring Eagles’ receiver Riley Cooper shouting a racial epithet at a Kenny Chesney concert, and by Thursday morning he was already a national embarrassment.
Needless to say, his use of the N-word was not received well in Philadelphia, where being black doesn’t make you the minority.
“He has a lot of work to do and an uphill battle in a city with a 44 percent black population,” Geoff Mosher of CSN Philly told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny Thursday.
Riley apologized immediately on Twitter, then faced the music and apologized on-camera, allowing the world to then analyze his sincerity and speculate whether he is in his heart of hearts actually a racist person. And ultimately, it’s on each individual to decide whether or not to forgive Cooper, starting with his teammates.
“It was smoothed over last night, but there’s 90 guys on this roster and I can’t imagine that all 90 were as accepting as maybe some of the quotes that you heard last night,” Mosher said.
Cooper’s teammate, Eagles’ quarterback Michael Vick, is a man intimately familiar with lobbying for forgiveness from America. He served a very public 21-month prison sentence during the prime of his NFL career for charges related to dog fighting, and rebounded by winning the Ed Block Courage Award upon his return to the league in 2009, and NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2010.
“What if your son or daughter made a mistake of this factor?” Vick said. “How would you want people to perceive it? I’ve been there before.”
“Riley is still my teammate,” Vick went on. “And he just stood in front of us as a man and apologized for what he said. And somewhere deep down, you have to find some level of respect for that. Riley wished he never said it.”
Redskins’ corner Brandon Meriweather, also a black man, was asked how he would react to a teammate uttering such a vile word publicly.
“It’d be uncomfortable for about a day until he says he apologizes,” Meriweather told Holden and Danny Wednesday. “He said he was sorry and all those things. You’ve gotta forgive him. That’s your teammate. Everybody is going to make mistakes. Sometimes you just gotta look past some stuff.”
Someone who won’t be looking past it is columnist/radio host John Feinstein, who believes Cooper’s mistake merits more than a team-issued fine.
“I think he should be punished,” Feinstein told Holden and Danny. “You do something really bad, and you’re allowed to say ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ At least he didn’t say ‘I’m sorry if I offended anyone.’ Thank goodness for that, because he should have offended everyone. But if I’m the Eagles, I think he should sit for a couple games. Make it clear.”
We know now that Cooper has been fined by the Eagles, and although it was for an undisclosed amount, the NFL declining to tack on an additional tariff perhaps speaks to its steepness.
And as it was with Michael Vick, the ultimate cost for Cooper is his public image, with the entire country now laughing at his ignorance.