Michael Vick stood in front of the cameras and media members in Philadelphia and admittedly didn’t understand why Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper chose to utter an offensive term in regards to African Americans. However, he forgave him, accepted him as a team mate and knew that wasn’t the type of character or individual that Cooper was.
While it remains to be determined if Vick will win the starting quarterback job, it speaks to Vick’s leadership abilities and pull with the team that he was the man that coach Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ brass chose to speak on behalf of the team.
Vick is still a very much respected man in the locker room who many of the younger players looked up to as a kid, and this fact could actually give him a big leg-up in the quarterback battle itself.
Getting back to the Cooper situation, it would be wise for other veteran and young members of the team to follow Vick’s and fellow teammate Jason Avant‘s lead in forgiving Cooper for his actions, as to not cause major division within the team structure.
Cooper has recently been excused from team activities as he undergoes counseling provided by the team in its facilities. This seems like the appropriate idea because having Cooper at practice, especially with the incident being so fresh, made for an awkward and uncomfortable work environment for many players, including Cooper himself.
Guys like LeSean McCoy have come out and said he can’t respect a player like Cooper and that it was going to take a while. While this may blow over, McCoy proclaimed he would never look at Cooper the same again. Leaders like Vick and Avant need to get in McCoy’s ear and make sure that he puts the team before any individual animosity he has, as to not cause a complete fracture in the locker room.
Cooper has certainly put himself in a dilemma. If he were cut from the Eagles today, I am not sure one team or general manager would take a chance on him, as it would cause a major distraction and potential black eye for that particular franchise. Cooper needs to make things right with the front office, his coaches and teammates in Philadelphia, or he could now potentially see himself out of the league for good.