Remember when I said that the Eagles decision to welcome Riley Cooper back into the fold after just four days would give cynics all the ammunition they needed? Well, one cynic has taken that ammunition and taken a direct shot at the Eagles for the handling, or lack thereof, of this whole situation.
Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer pulled no punches in a column that ran today saying that the Eagles never really intended on truly handling this situation. And the leave of absence that was never intended for Cooper to get counseling. Instead it was intended to have this entire situation just blow over.
As for Cooper, Sheridan believes that he used the leave of absence to visit his parents in Florida.
The Eagles’ plan for handling the Riley Cooper situation became clear Tuesday. There is no plan. There never was. The team acted quickly to fine Cooper for his videotaped racist threat, then ducked low and hoped it would all blow over. The assumption that Cooper went to some kind of sensitivity training or counseling program appears incorrect.
The Eagles excused him from team activities on Friday so he could “seek assistance.”
From Cooper’s comments, it seems clear he went home to Florida to spend time with his parents. He wouldn’t identify anyone else he might have spoken to, although this situation screams for transparency.
Asked directly if he would reconsider drinking alcohol after his outburst, he said the subject hadn’t come up. In any professionally guided attempt to examine his actions and attitudes, alcohol would have come up in the first five minutes.
We may never know exactly what Cooper did during those four days, but I do know that if Chip Kelly had concerns about a division in the locker room before, this certainly won’t help.