Home » Blog » Eagles Training Camp Just Got Very Awkward

Eagles Training Camp Just Got Very Awkward

"Dude, obviously I didn't mean it. All of my best teammates are black!"

“Dude, obviously I didn’t mean it. All of my best teammates are black!”

On Monday the website Crossing Broad, a Philadelphia sports blog, published the second installment of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper’s misadventures at a Kenny Chesney concert in June. This is one of the rare instances when a sequel really outshines the original.

In the video last month, Cooper and some of his bros got into a little scuffle in the parking lot of Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The bystander-turned-tipster said he started recording the incident just after Cooper and company—but really just Cooper—threw some poor over-matched sucker down on the ground.

The new video may shed some light on why, exactly, Cooper was behaving like Biff from Back to the Future outside the stadium. It seems he may have just been really jacked up from threatening to “jump that fence and fight every [N bomb] here, bro.” Well that explanation seems quite reasonable.

No wait…it’s actually the polar opposite of quite reasonable. Of course, from the safety of a semi-private VIP area it’s always much easier to make blanket threats at anyone who is outside the semi-private VIP area.

Blogger Kyle Scott conceded the broader context of the statements in the video is unknown, obviously recognizing that there’s no additional information that could possibly minimize Cooper’s own words. To his credit, Cooper didn’t even attempt to lamely explain away or minimize the gravity of his statements.

That’s the only credit he gets.

After the story blew up, Cooper began his apology tour on Twitter:

coooper-procAssuming you want to give Cooper the benefit of the doubt, the sentiment expressed seemed contrite and sincere. Not that he’s earned it under these circumstances. So should you choose not to give him the benefit of the doubt, it’s more than understandable.

Not understandable is how Cooper, who played his college ball at Florida, got it into his head that the language he used in that video was acceptable. Having no knowledge of his Oklahoma upbringing, four years with the Gators and three seasons in the NFL is more than enough time to have corrected any nasty language he may have picked up over the years.

And if the issue Cooper has runs deeper than bad habits, which it very well could, he didn’t choose his line of work wisely. After all, black players constitute between 65 and 70 percent of league in a given year. An audience he’s far less likely to find a sympathetic ear than had he gone on to pursue a career as a Republican politician or Fox News correspondent, for example.

Cooper is guaranteed to receive plenty of extra attention from defenders this season as he steps into the No. 2 position, in the absence of  Jeremy Maclin, who is out for the season with a torn ACL he suffered in training camp. However, at least one person was quick to forgive. Cooper’s teammate Michael Vick offered up some understanding words:

“What if your son or daughter made a mistake of this factor? How would you want people to perceive it? I’ve been there before. … Him being my brother, knowing him for so long, it’s hard to defend him saying that. At the same, time, it happened. We talked about it man to man, one on one. We just know that we have to some way move on. It’s a very delicate situation. But we all understand. Somehow we all have to find a way to get past it. That’s maturity in itself.”

Of course every time Michael takes the high road these days, expect baby brother Marcus to be blazing a trail on the low road. Marcus countered big brother’s message of forgiveness and understanding with this tweet directed at Cooper:

Untitled12-procThe tweet was quickly deleted, likely at the insistence of an angry agent. That doesn’t delete the sentiment though, which surely extends well beyond Marcus Vick and is shared by at least a few of his teammates—if not the majority of them. Which means training camp is going to be very awkward moving forward.

As for how many players around the NFL are thinking the exact same way as Marcus Vick, Cooper will find that out in the months to come. In the meantime he should probably keep apologizing.

  • 100%