While most of his teammates have forgiven Riley Cooper, one man who is taking a stand is Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. McCoy or “Shady,” as he is known by his teammates, happens to be the star of the team and future face of the franchise, so he presumably talks for many other veteran and young players who have less standing on the team than McCoy.
There remains a major possibility in light of these recent comments that Cooper’s racist remarks and the inevitable fallout from them could form a division within the team. It looks to be taking shape already with McCoy and others at this juncture unwilling to forgive Cooper’s actions at a Kenny Chesney concert in June.
This is a real challenge for new head coach Chip Kelly. He is fresh out of college and while his attention and focus should be on continuing to implement his offense and figuring out the depth chart for the entire team, including the all important quarterback position, instead it shifts to fielding a bombardment of questions involving Cooper and his off-the-field antics. In essence, this is Kelly’s first real challenge and moment of adversity as the Eagles’ head coach, and so far, he has handled it well, but it remains to be seen whether he can keep control of the team without players forming factions within the locker room.
When the news first broke, and after Cooper made his apology, I was all in favor of letting the man pay his fine, learn his lesson and continue playing for the Eagles franchise. However, it now looks like the issue is becoming a real problem for the club and players. Now may be the time to move on from Cooper.