Chip Kelly at the Center of Everything

Sunday, Aug. 4, Philadelphia
The Eagles
I see Riley Cooper getting a second chance.

We’ve probably all done a lot of thinking on this story of Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper using a racial slur when confronted by a black security officer at a concert in Philadelphia in June. If you’re human, you’re disturbed by it. The fact that Cooper is white, and plays on a team with some black players who are now inclined to hate him, makes this a very slippery slope for a team in modern sports to handle. The first response—and maybe the second and third—was that the Eagles should cut him. Make a statement that this won’t be tolerated by any employee of their organization.

That’s a justifiable reaction, certainly. But I don’t see the Eagles doing it. I see the Eagles giving Cooper counseling for as long as he needs it, and my gut feeling is they’ll bring him back to the team, likely as a member of the 53-man roster when they’re set in four weeks.

Why? Lots of reasons. But one of them could very well be the ghost of LaGarrette Blount.

In 2009, after Oregon’s first game of the season at Boise State, star running back Blount punched a Boise player in the head in the heat of a post-game skirmish. Kelly, the first-year head coach of Oregon, suspended Blount for the rest of the season. A month later, convinced Blount truly regretted what he’d done, Kelly changed course, setting in motion a plan for Blount to rejoin the team if he followed a strict set of guidelines on the field and at school. Blount followed the rules, and played the last two games of the season. One of Kelly’s advisers on the Blount case was former Colts coach Tony Dungy. Kelly’s reinstatement of Blount allowed Blount to rehab his image and gave him a shot at the NFL. So when Blount unexpectedly rushed for a rookie-high 1,007 yards in Tampa Bay, Dungy took a photo of a big banner celebrating Blount’s accomplishments and emailed it to Kelly. Dungy told Kelly, in effect, that without the coach’s forgiveness, Blount probably never would have been in the NFL, never mind rushed for 1,000 yards.

Chip will make the right decision. He doesn’t care what the popular opinion. He cares about what’s right. – Tony Dungy

And over the weekend, Kelly reached out to Dungy again, asking him for his thoughts on the Cooper case.

“I told him to trust his instincts,’’ Dungy said Sunday night, reached in Canton before working the Dallas-Miami preseason game for NBC. “He can use this as a teaching moment, and his decision could pull this team together.’’

Three years ago, Dungy recalled Sunday night, “Chip could have kicked Blount to the curb. He chose to believe in him. And it worked out. With Riley Cooper, this kid made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. The big issue, too, is the alcohol. That has to be dealt with. But Chip will make the right decision. He doesn’t care what the popular opinion. He cares about what’s right.’’

While Michael Vick (top) has referenced his past controversies in standing by Riley Cooper, LeSean McCoy lamented losing Cooper as a friend, saying "I can't respect a guy like that." (Matt Rourke/AP :: Howard Smith/USA TODAY Sports)
While Michael Vick (top) has referenced his past controversies in standing by Riley Cooper, LeSean McCoy lamented losing Cooper as a friend, saying “I can’t respect a guy like that.” (Matt Rourke/AP :: Howard Smith/USA TODAY Sports)

I don’t know the players nearly as well as the local beat people do, and I don’t doubt a few of them want Cooper gone today and forgotten tomorrow. I spoke to Kelly Sunday before I spoke to Dungy, so I didn’t get to ask about the specter of Blount impacting this call. But Kelly sounded dove-like here. “I think Jason Avant said it the best,’’ Kelly said. “He said, ‘This isn’t something you sweep under the rug.’ You’ve got to address it and communicate with our players, and they need to be able to communicate with us and have an open forum. I do believe, though, that Riley understands the ramifications of what happened. But there’s still a process of everyone going through their acceptance of him. I believe I know what the endgame will be, but I don’t know what the timetable is.’’

“The last thing you want,’’ Michael Vick said to me after practice, “is for a man to be helpless. We should help. Some people might not understand that, but I don’t care what other people think. I’m past that point of my life now.’’

Vick has run the gamut of emotions, but he’s now willing to give Cooper a chance.

“Just because he made that one mistake doesn’t mean he can’t overcome it,’’ Vick said. “Or he can’t be condemned for it. Everybody deserves a second chance … Just for one second, expand your mind. Expand your mind and have supernatural thinking about it. Everything doesn’t have to be negative. Everything can be fixed. So many people forgave me. And it took time. It’s still taking time.’’

I left the Eagles’ complex Sunday feeling Cooper will have the chance to—as he told the team when the news broke last week—“make it right.” Then it’ll be up to him, and to how forgiving his mates will be.

My feeling? I definitely think the Eagles should keep Cooper, unless the situation becomes powerfully untenable in the locker room.

I think back to Martin Luther King preaching nonviolence and forgiveness. I think, just last month, of Trayvon Martin’s parents making this surprisingly placid statement after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of wrongdoing in the killing of their son. “For Trayvon to rest in peace, we must all be peaceful,’’ they said.

I do not mean to make Cooper a sympathetic figure. I truly don’t. But three points are valid here: Cooper has told friends (believe it or not; and I’m not sure I believe it) that he was shocked when he saw the video of himself using the racial epithet, because he says he doesn’t remember doing it. That’s how drunk he claims to have been that night. Two of his best friends on the team over the years have been black. He cried when Cornelius Ingram, a tight end, was cut in 2011. He put a towel over his head and displayed anguish when Jeremy Maclin tore his ACL in training camp a week ago. And one of the team’s biggest leaders, Michael Vick, who has had personal experience with being forgiven for a heinous crime, has both publicly and privately forgiven Cooper.

Cooper is a fighter, and a guy who lives hard. But there hasn’t been any sign that he is a racist to anyone on the team, from what I was told by three Eagle sources over the weekend. There’s something disturbing inside the man, and if he’s being honest (we’ll know soon enough), he wants to learn why such a vile thing came out of him that night two months ago. Easy for me to say, because I am neither black nor spend six months living in close quarters with the man. But the humane thing to do is give Riley Cooper a second chance.

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177 comments
sjq294
sjq294

Viewing this as a single page just reinforces the fact that your MMQB is way too long. Also, this MMQB site is terrible to navigate. Might have to go back to ESPN despite being forced to use Facebook to make comments

ccurtis79
ccurtis79

Peter: ThankYou for the PRINT button!  ThankYou for the single page view.  The rest of the site is nice, but long time readers, we're simple, this is all we really wanted...!

Richard Long
Richard Long

Kelly was fun to watch in Oregon.  I suspect his teams will be fun and very good in the NFL.  He just needs the right QB and skill people.  Having to draft them is much harder than going out and recruiting them.  But I suspect he will adjust. 

zkinter36
zkinter36

Should be interesting to watch how this team performs.

ridelacruz
ridelacruz

Peter: The most time I spend thinking about the Riley Cooper situation the more I realize there's a double standard in that  situation, I've never heard of anyone making a big deal out of calling someone a redneck, white-trash, hillbilly or cracker.

Now, I understand that the African American population in the US suffered a lot of discrimination trough the years, but then: Why do they discriminate themselves now? What do I mean? There's an African American authors section in every B&N bookstore. Don't you see the basic racism behind it? And let's point out that most African American's think that the use of the n word is reserved for them to be able to insult other African Americans.

I agree that Riley Cooper did a wrong thing and he must bear the consequences of his acts, but when do we start making a big deal out of African American racism towards other races or towards themselves?

JimCody
JimCody

I love how these holier-than-thou journalists pretend like they've never used a racial slur, at least in jest. I guess everyone has to compete to show they're the most outraged at this "horrible" crime of saying a bad word once. Are you sure you haven't quite blown this out of proportion enough? There's still time to milk fake outrage before the next big story breaks.

Zenschach
Zenschach

Peter -- Thanks for adding the option to view the article as one long single page.

Shooter McGavin 19711
Shooter McGavin 19711

What Cooper did was reprehensible.  That said, I find it sad that his locker room (and his city) can't accept his apology.  I mean, Ray Lewis WAS involved in a double homicide (he hid in the trunk of a car, ditched his white suit, paid off the families of the victims - all things INNOCENT people don't do) and his locker room welcomed him back.  As did his city.  So I guess in the NFL, you can't utter something racist - but you can be involved in a double murder.  So yeah, good to see the players and fans have their priorities straight...

John021386
John021386

Riley Cooper made a horrible mistake. He has apologized for it, paid a fine, and is undergoing sensitivity training to prevent its recurrence. He was man enough to not claim alcohol as excusing the behavior. Let's have a little forgiveness. For the mayor of Philadelphia to say that is not enough punishment is reprehensible -- let's not get in to a "lynch mob" mentality.  


John021386
John021386

I have a solution to the Johnny Manziel mess. Set up a trust fund for every college athlete. They can make money with endorsements and selling autographs, but the money goes into the trust fund. The trust fund is untouchable until all the scholarships the athlete received are reimbursed. After that, the money is free and clear to the athlete. The repaid scholarship goes to fund future scholarships. If the athlete is not popular enough to make more money than the scholarships (in a less popular sport, perhaps), they still have been "paid" by their scholarship because they don't reimburse for it.

toldlikeitis
toldlikeitis

I found this article Peter wrote 20 years ago: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1004184/

Bascially it bashes white players and even captures this happening on the playing field. Peter King wrote the article, good journalists would compare this situation to the Cooper situation and ask about the double standard that exists. I won't get into how that article is full of BS regarding white players at skill positions. Plenty of white kids every year are not recruited or very lightly recruited at the skill positions - not because of their lack of athleticism but based strictly on skin color.

mja10178
mja10178

with maclin out and a shaky Qb and defense the eagles just need to run the ball and try to control the clock.


mja10178
mja10178

it's just nice to see a fresh new approach to football as opposed to andy reid throwing the ball 50 times a game when  the eagles strength is at RB and the O line's strength is run blocking.

Geomack62
Geomack62

Being neither a fan nor a hater of the Eagles this is going to either revolutionize the game or be an epic failure. It will be interesting to watch. I'm actually excited to see which way it falls! 

gary7
gary7

Just herd a replay of the Dan Patrick Show, Hey Pete signing autographs for money is Not Against The Law, smoking pot is (in some States), what's next you going to compare a psycho killing a family of 5 with jay-walking, keep your uniform analogies for you bad beer drinking and over price tar coffee drinking, leave the analogies for Dead-Spin

BrownieDog
BrownieDog

Thanks Peter for reporting further about, and sharing your thoughts on, the Riley Cooper matter.

I applaud any protocol for remediation, accountability, punishment/correction, or pathway to redemption that involves Tony Dungy. This transgression touches on foundational matters of character, personal identity, maturity level, and a hotly-charged context. Tony brings the credibility, wisdom, and gravitas required for such issues. This man has truly earned an honored position of undisputed integrity, rock-solid respect, and sound judgement that seems sorely needed.

PhillyEagles852
PhillyEagles852

I like what I'm hearing keep working hard! Eagles fly high!

Dana2
Dana2

"Peter King is as popular as some of the players!!"

What a crock.   It's really gone to your head, hasn't it, you fat skunk.

AndrewJHamm
AndrewJHamm

Peter, Richmond is a haven for beer lovers. If you're looking for a place to have dinner in Richmond after Redskins camp tomorrow, I have three recommendations:

1) Legend Brewery on the southside. It's unseasonably cool(ish) for August this week, and a seat on the deck at Legend affords the city's best view of the downtown skyline across the James River, not to mention a gorgeous selection of locally-brewed craft beers. Ask for a server named Ray; he's a friend of mine.

2) Capital Ale House downtown. One of the best places in America to buy a beer, with a great menu to boot. Again, a nice deck out back, though not with a view.

3) Mekong in the West End. It's in a character-less suburban strip mall, but the excellent Asian cuisine is matched or exceeded by the ownership's passion for beer. Not the most taps in RVA, but the most interesting.

I'd love to buy you a brew and talk Joe Jackson if you have time, brother. Thanks for the great work. Enjoy RVA, my hometown and favorite city.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

The life of the guy at the gas station stinks, indeed. His wife only talks to him that way (and reverse the sexes and it's the exact same thing), because he allows her to. Refuse to stand for disrespect. From anyone at anytime.

Brian F
Brian F

Regarding Riley Cooper – how do you not give him a 2nd chance, when the same organization gave Michael Vick a second chance. Putting in perspective what each of them did, it would be the height of hypocrisy to banish Cooper for what was, in comparison, a minor offense. Regarding the new site – not a fan at all. It looks more like Bleacher Report. Lose the big pictures and give me information – concisely. Otherwise, you might as well change the name to Monday Morning Bloviating. You used to be the first thing I went to read. Now, I get a couple of pages in and abandon it.  Today I made it as far as four pages. Not good. Not good at all.

JOBOOZOSO
JOBOOZOSO

cool photos


keep it up


Joe B

www.FantasyLeagueGM.com

BY
BY

Why would anyone give a sh*t about what serial brown noser Dick Vitale has to say?

bryandfuller
bryandfuller

Peter,

  My apologizes about the Hobbit, apparently, Peter Jackson uses the same recipe to make more money.

bryandfuller
bryandfuller

Peter,

  I use to read your MMQB every week religiously, but it has become so long winded and bloated it's like they crammed an extra two films into the Hobbit.  I get it if they are paying you more money, but it has become unreadable...seriously, coffeenerdness, beernerdness...yadda yadda yadda...

  Just remember, everyone loves a scope of ice cream...people like a pint.  No one can eat a gallon.

BillieBob
BillieBob

A lot of false equivalency floating around on this thread. 

Blacks using the "n" word with one another is NOT the same as whites using it. That word represents so much hideous abuse over the years -- slavery, lynchings, torture, Jim Crow, humiliation, discrimination, etc. some of which still goes on. 

It seems to me that blacks often use it as a way of "owning" it -- making it something they have control of instead of the white race that has historically treated them violently at worst and like inferiors at best. It's a way to take charge of the word and help take the sting out of it. When they use it with one another, it changes the meaning for them, in my opinion. Some day, that process of detoxification may reach a conclusion, but until then, it's their way of dealing with a pain that we can't understand no matter how much we say we do.

I think the right thing to do is to respect their process. There may come a time when racism is so far in the past that using the word will be a harmless artifact. But we're not close to that time yet. Racism is still alive and well and the consequences are still too upsetting for victims of it. 

It isn't for whites to say when using the "n" word is okay or not okay. We lost that privelage a long time ago when we made the word into a nightmare that blacks are still trying to wake up from.

The fact that some white guys don't think it's "fair" that blacks "get to use it and whites don't", is one of the whiniest, most ridiculous things I have heard. There is no white equivalent of the "n" word in this country, so everything is NOT equal. Stop acting like a victim.

evil.aaronm
evil.aaronm

@ridelacruz Maybe when the impact is the same.  When a black man calls a white man a "cracker," who cares?  When a white man says, "n.igger," it's a big deal.  When hateful speech from both sides carries the same weight, then it will be a big deal.

Ciscos
Ciscos

@Shooter McGavin 19711 ~ I just had to acknowledge your choice of call signs - "Shooter McGavin"... just re-watched "Happy Gilmore" this past weekend.  "The price is wrong Bob..." lol. Classic.

Ciscos
Ciscos

@John021386 ~ the last thing this needs is to be politicized by a politician.  Philly's Mayor should have more important and better things to focus on.

CGGymDog
CGGymDog

@gary7 I'm pretty sure King meant that it was against NCAA law, not federal or state law. It would be a reach to think that he thinks Manziel broke anything other than NCAA rules.

Sharkbite16
Sharkbite16

@AndrewJHamm I would have to add in May the Boonville Beer Festival is a must see in Boonville, CA.

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

@Rickapolis

Sounds like the guy just needs his b@lls chopped of and placed in his wife's purse.  What kind of real man has to ask his wife to take a leak when out on the road.  What is this world coming to? Haven't we de-masculinized our society enough already?

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

@Brian F 

Sounds like the guy just needs his b@lls chopped of and placed in his wife's purse.  What kind of real man has to ask his wife to take a leak when out on the road.  What is this world coming to? Haven't we de-masculinized our society enough already?

CMFJ
CMFJ

@bryandfuller

You say that MMQB has become "long winded and bloated", then cite the coffe/beer sections.  First, those are usually one paragraph total of 4-7 pages and have always been 2 of the last 3 of 4 items, ie easy to skip.  Second, and more importantly, you need to learn how to structure an argument.  Your examples are supposed to convince someone that MMQB is "long winded and bloated".  Using the coffee/beer sections, which are brief, is not really supportive of your claim.  You clearly mean the verbiage padding the rest of the column, yet you use examples that are NOT that.  

"I get it if they are paying you more money..."  Seriously, the MMQB column is about the same on TheMMQB as it was on SI.com.  Again, your poorly chosen examples, which have been part of the column for years, are not new and, therefore, not associated with a speculative increase in King's salary.  

Just remember, most people can easily read columns written in simple english without complaining.

Ciscos
Ciscos

@bryandfuller ~ scope or scoop? LOL... no worries. We all make typos.  I just thought I'd dig you on it because the idea of scope flavored ice cream was pretty foul. lol

godfather361
godfather361

@BillieBob Redskins isn't? Let's not be totally ignorant and say that black people were the only mistreated people in this countries history.  Any race or ethnicity has derogatory terms thrown at them, but you don't see the Washington N$#%as do you?

Mike26
Mike26

@BillieBob "The fact that some white guys don't think it's "fair" that blacks "get to use it and whites don't", is one of the whiniest, most ridiculous things I have heard. There is no white equivalent of the "n" word in this country, so everything is NOT equal. Stop acting like a victim."

Nope, that's a copout that you're basically telling white people that they "owe" all black people something, which is patently untrue.  If you don't believe me, ask any educated, intelligent, professional black person and see if they agree.

Phroggo
Phroggo

@BillieBob 

I like your comment, BillieBob.  It is very well said and even swayed me from leaning the other direction.  But I still think the reaction to this incident is overblown.

ridelacruz
ridelacruz

@evil.aaronm I respectfully disagree, hate is hate, no matter who hates who. 

 Now, when you say the "same weight", do you mean that the white people hates for African Americans is heavier than the other way around?  I found that hard to believe. I actually think that the hate from African Americans is bigger, hence the problem with the n word. That being said, I still believe that the best way to deal with this kind of things is to forgive and move on.

There's no way no deny the injustices that this country made African Americans bear, but dwelling in the past will not make it better and makes a society "stay still" and in vengeance mode, please tell me, how is that helping?

BillieBob
BillieBob

@godfather361 @BillieBob

"Redskins isn't?"

I think "redskins" is a derogatory term, but I don't think my opinion or your opinion or even team ownership's opinion on that is all that important. The only opinions that matter on that are those of Native Americans. If a sizable percentage of them think it is demeaning, then Washington should get rid of it. If Native Americans not insulted, that's up to them, not you or me. 

"Let's not be totally ignorant and say that black people were the only mistreated people in this countries history."

Who said black people were the only mistreated people in history? Not me. But let's not be totally ignorant and say that the amount and type of mistreatment they have received somehow doesn't matter and that it shouldn't affect the way we see things. Do you understand the difference? 

"Any race or ethnicity has derogatory terms thrown at them, but you don't see the Washington N$#%as do you?"

I suppose there's a point in there somewhere, but I don't know what it is.

Listen, if you can't understand what I've said, then you can't understand what I've said. I think it was pretty clear to most people. Maybe you should think about it a little harder.

thelaw401
thelaw401

@Mike26@BillieBobIf you don't believe me, ask any educated, intelligent, professional black person and see if they agree.>>> Stupid thing you could have ever said. This is why the black/white relationship will always stay at a division.

BillieBob
BillieBob

@Mike26 @BillieBob 

I think white people owe black people what any decent person owes any other person.

We owe them an acknowledgment that their history in America is dramatically different than our history. We owe them understanding that because of their unique history, they can experience life in this country differently than we do. Words can have different meanings to them than they do to us. You doubt that? Show a noose to your white neighbor with no explanation, then show it to a black person with no explanation. See if they "interpret" it differently. Now tell me you don't owe it to the black person to be respectful of the difference. If you're decent, you do. If you're a jerk, you act like it's their fault for being more offended than the white guy. It's the same with the "n" word.

We owe it to blacks to get rid of the many ways racism still affects blacks in this country. You don't think it does? Fact: blacks are far more likely to receive jail time for the same offense as whites. Fact: blacks are far more likely to be stopped by police -- often for no reason except that they're black. Fact: blacks receive a poorer quality of health care as a race than whites and have a shorter life expectancy as a result. Fact: interracial marriage is still seen as a threat by many whites in this country. Fact: blacks still face employment and housing discrimination in many parts of the country and they often receive less money for the same work than whites as a group.

A decent person would acknowledge that these realities are unjust and that all of society (even white people) owes the victims of the injustice an honest attempt to correct them.

So your statement that white people "don't owe black people something" is patently untrue, if you see yourself as a decent person. Saying you have no responsibility is a copout, in my opinion.

BTW, my future son-in-law is a black professional with a law degree. Two of my nieces are black professionals --one  a CPA and one a psycologist. One of my best friends is a black doctor, another is a black researcher with a law degree. They all agree with me.





Phroggo
Phroggo

@Mike26

Wrong, Mikie.  Until someone proves they don't deserve it, we all owe each other a modicum of respect, and the "N" word is commonly seen as a lack of respect. 

LHanner
LHanner

@ridelacruz @evil.aaronm I wonder how many times Riley Cooper has been called cracker, and white boy, let alone by his own teammates. I'd bet my life it wayyyyy outnumbers that one time he used the word. Kudos to him for being smart and not bringing that up. The double standard makes me sick!!! That being said racism in any form is intolerable, and I can't see how Philly keeps him on the roster. 

BillieBob
BillieBob

@evil.aaronm @godfather361 @BillieBob 

I just think the history of that word is pretty shameful -- a way to dehumanize Native people so that if would be easier to ethnic-cleanse the land for Europeans. If you reduce a race to their "skin color" then you don't have to look at their humanity. Personally, if I was the owner of the team, I'd change it in a heart beat, because it's clear ENOUGH Native people are deeply offended by it and understandably so.

The fact that not every Native American cares doesn't change that for me, but as I said, it's not for me to say how anyone should feel. But for team owners to act like this doesn't matter just because the majority of people don't care, is either ignorant, callous, or simply greedy. My guess is that it won't change until a more socially responsible owner buys the team...

evil.aaronm
evil.aaronm

@godfather361 @BillieBob Part of the problem is, there's no real consensus on how hurtful the name "Redskins" is, even among Natives.  My full-blooded Native wife, for example, has no problem with it.  My half-Native son thinks it's a non-issue.  A full-blooded Native lacrosse buddy thinks it's shameful.  And, to increase the weirdness, another full-blooded Native buddy of mine is a freakin' Cowboys fan.  WTF?  How do you take a stand, one way or another, when even Natives can't agree on it?

godfather361
godfather361

@BillieBob @godfather361 It is up to me because I'm Native American.  I may not live on a reservation as my grandmother did, but that still shouldn't matter.  Also, it's very ignorant of you to assume I'm a certain race or ethnicity based upon my picture.  It's extremely demeaning of the Redskins to use that term and worse off, they make billions of dollars off of it.  

k330k
k330k

I'm a black professional and I agree as well. I think you get it or atleast understand. I'm interested in knowing how you came by such understanding.

Mike26
Mike26

@BillieBob @Mike26 We'll have to agree to disagree.  I really can't wait for this Cooper stuff to end one way or the other and people can get back to doing just football talk.

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