NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper was caught on video using a racial slur while at a Kenny Chesney concert. Since the video leaked online, it has gone viral and Cooper has been issued a fine by the Eagles and will step away from the team for a period of time.
If and when Cooper returns, he will have to face opposing defenses who may not be very happy, to say the least, over Cooper’s choice of words and the manner in which it was delivered. The New York Giants will face the NFC East rival Eagles twice this upcoming season, and members of Big Blue’s defense don’t seem to be too distracted over the issue.
“Oh, so he used the N-word?” safety Antrel Rolle, who has not seen the video, asked reporters. “Oh. I don’t care about that. It is what it is. … It doesn’t bother me at all.”
The major concern for Cooper is that opponents will carry their feelings with them onto the field. Defensive end Adrain Tracy believes that defenders will use their aggression over the use of the word on Cooper.
“I’m sure there will be,” Tracy told reporters. “I don’t know (if I will). I love the nature of football because I feel like all of your aggressions, no matter what the emotions are, you can get out in a positive manner and not be arrested for it. People play with anger all the time and this is an outlet for them to do so. If people are angry and within the confines of the rules express their anger . . . It’s just friendly competition.”
“I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t,” Giants linebacker Spencer Paysinger told Newsday. “But for the most part, I hope a player doesn’t try to go after him just because he said that.”
Instead of dwelling on the fact the Cooper used the unacceptable slur, Paysinger believes that word should be stripped of its “power.”
“In my opinion, saying that word or words close to that, you can’t give those words power,” Paysinger told Newsday. “If you give those words power, that means the other side is winning. Somebody can come up to me and call me that word, but if I show him anger, then that means he got the best of me, so I think we should stop giving that word power.”
Rolle has also decide to chose a non-violent route if he is given the task to cover the Eagles’ wide receiver.
“You never try to go out and hurt an opponent, but I can’t speak for other people,” the safety told reporters. “When I go against and I see Riley Cooper, I’m going to treat him just like I treat any other opponent — never let him catch the ball. That’s what I aim for. Am I going to have any personal vendetta against him? No, absolutely not.”
Because Cooper was fined by the Eagles organization, the NFL won’t hand down any additional punishments. And with the responses that Cooper’s teammates are giving over the use of the slur, it seems that the receiver will have plenty to deal with inside the locker room, along with on the playing field.
“The coaches are saying we should think team first, but this is just crazy,” an anonymous Eagle told Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Was he thinking about the team when he said that?”
“If he’s on the team, he’s on the team,” another anonymous Eagle told McLane. “Don’t mean I have to like him.”
“I forgive him,” running back LeSean McCoy went on the record to say. “We’ve been friends for a long time. But in a situation like this, you really find out about someone. Just on a friendship level, I can’t really respect someone like that.”
Cooper apologized for using the word and will be sent to sensitivity training.
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