Philadelphia Eagles: Is the Reaction to Riley Cooper's Incident Becoming Excessive?

By Brian Neal
Riley Cooper Philadelphia Eagles
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Am I the only one who thinks the reaction to Riley Cooper‘s racial slur slip caught on someone’s phone is rather inordinate?

Don’t get me wrong, what he said is not OK — in fact, I’m kind of embarrassed for him just watching it — and no one is condoning what he did. But do you think there’s one person in that Philadelphia Eagle‘s locker room that hasn’t uttered any similar phrase at some point in their lives? And I’m talking about all races. Just because it’s 2013 doesn’t mean those words have disappeared, nor does it suggest that these words have not taken different meanings in certain contexts.

Sure, racism as a whole has diminished significantly in the U.S. since the pre-1970s era, especially with the latest couple of generations who weren’t as exposed to that culture, but the words are still a part of some people’s every day lives. Again, I’m not condoning it, it’s just a fact.

I live in the Chicagoland area, one of the most tolerant areas in the country, and even in my high school a few years back, I can remember a lot of people who used the N-word. And to reiterate, it was all races.

In the latest Lil’ Wayne music video, you’ll hear him say it 100 times. Why is that not second guessed, but Cooper’s one incident is possibly going to cost him his job and entire public image? (Though, I suppose Wayne isn’t the most respected person in the world, but nevertheless.) Ponder that for a moment.

Society’s tolerance is still somewhat based on race, and it’s wrong. Despite this hypocrisy, what Cooper did is still wrong. However, it’s not something new nor unheard of. Neither is it something that is law-breaking nor earth-shaking.

It happened, he apologized and was clearly very embarrassed by his actions. And many of his teammates came to his aid because normally, he isn’t like that. It’s just a very inopportune moment caught on camera, and it happens to the best of people at times.

Now, I’m not saying Cooper is a saint, I don’t know the guy. I also don’t know how often he uses such terms. But all things considered that we know of, one has to admit the punishments and potential additions to the backlash is rather significant for one thing he said at a Kenny Chesney concert where he was clearly upset, no?

I understand the need for the Eagles as an organization to take action and avoid the brunt end of this PR mayhem, but some of it is just excessive. A fine here? Sure. Keeping him away from team activities for a bit? No problem.

But forcing him to “seek help” for one mistake? Really? It’s like drinking a little too much once and someone tells you to go to AA.

Perhaps this is just going the extra mile to protect their image and the message they want to display, which is fine, but the team will really have gone too far if he ends up not being allowed back to camp and is ultimately cut from the team. At that point, this whole reaction would be blown way out of the water and simply a situation where the punishment truly did not fit the crime (or non-crime).

Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and some people may take different levels of offence to this sort of situation, but sometimes, we need to look past one bad moment in a person’s life. A thought that the media generally takes the exact opposite approach to.

Please comment below on your reactions and thoughts.

Brian Neal is an intern at Rant Sports and senior mass communications major at Lewis University. Follow him on Twitter @brianneal23 and “Like” him on Facebook.

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