While Philadelphia residents seem to be ready to move past Riley Cooper’s racist outburst at a Kenny Chesney concert, it seems that some of his teammates aren’t.
According to Jeff McLane of Philly.com, a group of players are in complete support of Cooper. While another group of players are having a “difficult time” accepting Cooper’s apology. And further, the second group believes that if Andy Reid were still the head coach in Philadelphia, Cooper’s punishment would have been harsher than the one he received.
So yep, the locker room is already divided in Philadelphia.
Despite several team leaders speaking out in support of Riley Cooper on Wednesday, there are many Eagles – the majority of them African American – that are having a difficult time accepting the wide receiver’s apology for using a racial slur, according to team sources.
And there was one prominent Eagle that questioned the punishment – Cooper was fined — handed down by owner Jeffrey Lurie and new coach Chip Kelly.
“I’ll tell you one thing, if it was Andy Reid, he would have gotten more than a fine,” the player said on the condition of anonymity.
Another veteran Eagles player said that he could not get past Cooper using the n-word and that he didn’t think he would ever speak to him again. “The coaches are saying we should think team first, but this is just crazy,” the player said. “Was he thinking about the team when he said that?”
In the immediate aftermath of Cooper’s comments coming to light, there was a belief that the reaction within the locker room would be rather tame. But that belief has quickly gone out of the window in the past 24 hours.
On Wednesday when the video was first posted, linebacker DeMeco Ryans and several other veterans said they didn’t think that Cooper’s slur would divide the locker room. Jason Avant did say that there were some players that may need as long as a month to forgive Cooper.
However, another Eagles player said that there is a definite line being drawn between players that were ready to move on after the incident and those that aren’t sure if they can forget what Cooper said.
“If he’s on the team, he’s on the team,” the player said. “Don’t mean I have to like him.”
Good luck Chip Kelly. Looks like you’re going to need it.