Riley Cooper: The Fallout

Everyone has an opinion on Riley Cooper.

Mike Vick says all is forgiven. His brother, Marcus, thinks a bounty should be placed on the misguided receiver.

Beat reporters are debating Cooper’s choice of words and what it means for society.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams called it a “teachable moment.”

The NFL put out a statement. They won’t punish Cooper. The Eagles fined Cooper a substantial amount of money, then demanded that he go to counseling.

“In meeting with Riley yesterday, we decided together that his next step will be to seek outside assistance to help him fully understand the impact of his words and actions,” the team said in a statement. “He needs to reflect. As an organization, we will provide the resources he needs to do so.”

Kenny Chesney — yes, the country singer who was performing the night the incident occurred — called Cooper a “loud mouth.”

News outlets are running around the streets asking city residents for comment. A lot of black Eagles fans want Cooper cut from the roster.

Even Metro got a chance to weigh in on the subject in a radio interview in Canada. Our friends in Taiwan also took notice.


It’s been a wild 24 hours for Riley Cooper — and it’s only going to get wilder. While Cooper’s teammates have publicly come to his defense, you can’t help but wonder what they’re really thinking and saying behind closed doors.

And what happens the first time Cooper goes over the middle to make a catch? Will a safety go out of his way to unload on him, just to prove a point?

How about if he catches a touchdown pass in that first preseason game? Will Eagles fans cheer? If they do, does that mean all is forgotten in the name of football?

These questions will all be answered in due time. At Eagles training camp Thursday, the invited fans were given souvenirs and sent home. The reason was rain as the Eagles practiced indoors. That’s been the policy all along.

However, it still drew a few eyebrow raises considering the circumstances. It would have been interesting to see how fans reacted — would they bring signs? boo? hiss? — when Cooper ran routes.

For now, the sport talk lines will continue to light up — locally and nationally. Race is a hot-button issue in this country, in this city (right, Philly Mag?) I’m going to keep my personal opinions to myself, but anyone that knows me probably can guess my feelings.

From all accounts, Riley Cooper is a decent person who made an unacceptable comment that morphed into the biggest mistake of his life. And, as one of his black teammates, Jason Avant, pointed out, everyone makes mistakes.

“Well, the easiest thing for the media and the easiest thing for people to do is respond off initial feelings,” Avant said. “I don’t know about you guys, but if I had a camera following me my whole life, you wouldn’t see the greatest things.”

This will follow Riley Cooper for the rest of his career, no matter what else he does. Riley Cooper will be known as “the guy that made the racial slur.” Or worse. Either way, let’s just hope some good can come out of this unfortunate situation.

 


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