Philadelphia Eagles first year head coach Chip Kelly is recognized as one of the most innovative minds to ever carry a clipboard, but his latest decision may prove him a failure before the Eagles’ season begins.
Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper was excused from all team activities and ordered to seek counseling for a racially repulsive threat he made at a Kenny Chesney concert last week. Tuesday, Cooper was back on the field and listed as probable for Friday’s preseason debut against the New England Patriots.
Cooper was recorded boasting that he would “fight every (N-word) in here.” Is it fair to assume that every African American attending the concert stepped on his new Air Jordans, or was he simply stating how he generally feels about black people?
Cooper makes a living playing professional football in a league where 78 percent of the roster spots are held by the very people he threatened to fight. The former University of Florida standout did not break the law with his outburst, but Cooper’s choice description of black men opened wounds that have been healing for centuries and should have earned him a career-terminating consequence. Yet today, Cooper is still an Eagle.
If Kelly is not able to produce wins early and often, he will lose the many players that are as resentful of Cooper’s early return as they were of his racially explicit remarks. This may be irreparable, even if Kelly hires the therapist that cured Cooper’s bigotry in one week.
Christopher Brown is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @whatrockschris. Like him on Facebook.