Video emerged July 31, of Riley Cooper, a Philadelphia Eagles receiver, to voicing a racial epithet at a security guard during a Kenny Chesney concert last month and his life has forever changed.
He has been fined, sent to sensitivity counseling and has been separated from teammates. Fans, some media and outside groups are calling for the Eagles to kick Cooper off the team, but I think itís the wrong move.
If punishments are designed to help rehabilitate people, then that is the wrong move.† Sometimes penalties work perfect and we see the error of our ways and move on. Kicking Cooper off the team or out of football is not the best punishment suited for his lack of sensitivity.
If I had the final say on Cooper, he would remain an Eagle as well as play this year. Heíd be at every practice, game and meeting. Cooperís apology may have been sincere, but talk is cheap. Itís easy to say you are sorry and ask for forgiveness. Itís a whole new ball game when you have to prove it.
Remaining on the team and in the league would be uncomfortable. Everyday the first impression of Cooper would be of him in the video ranting racial slurs.
If he is sincere about making amends, let him stay and create conversation. He may not ever regain the trust and respect he once had.
Cooper has probably hurt and lost several friends over this transgression. But I believe in redemption and kicking him out the door is not the way it is earned. I say let him struggle. Through struggle, there is growth.
To the special interest groups who have asked for the Eagles to let Cooper go, stop doing him favors. Letting him walk away would be the same as sweeping the problem under the rug.
Make Cooper walk the tough road of earning the trust and respect of everyone he has let down.
Push Cooper out the door and he answers to no one.
For myself, I appreciate Cooperís candor and if the racist tirade is how he really feels, then good for him. At least I know. If he is serious about his apology, then let him prove it.
I hope the Eagles donít release Cooper. Keep Cooper around in every facet of the organization.
He is more than a receiver now. He is where dialogue begins and thatís a good thing. Tough conversation is better than no conversation.