Just when the most bizarre offseason story (not involving murder or dogfighting) in recent memory seems that it can’t get any more bizarre, it does.
In response to a report that Eagles receiver Riley Cooper knew about the video that emerged on Wednesday before it emerged, the Eagles have issued a statement acknowledging that Cooper was aware of something regarding the video.
“Riley Cooper made us aware of the tweets when the video became public,” the team said in a statement. “He told us that he did not know about the video. He informed us he blocked the tweets because he did not know the person nor understand the context of what that person was threatening. We promptly alerted NFL Security. This information potentially speaks to a legal issue that is a matter between Riley and the authorities. Our focus has been on Riley’s words and actions.”
If you’re confused, you’ve got company. Cooper sensed that there was something unusual with the tweets that apparently made not-so-cryptic references to what he had said at a Kenny Chesney concert on June 9. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have blocked the users sending him the messages. (For those not conversant in Twitter, “tweets” aren’t blocked. Users are blocked, preventing them from following or posting messages directed to the user who has blocked them.)
The statement from the Eagles indicates that Cooper said nothing about the tweets he received until the video surfaced. Still, if someone asked Cooper for money in exchange for not releasing the video and Cooper didn’t pay and the video then was released, the persons who released the video could be charged with extortion.
On the surface, it’s a separate issue for the team and for Cooper. As we pointed out earlier today, however, any knowledge Cooper had before the video was released that the story inevitably would break gives a different feel to the words he uttered in the aftermath of the video’s release.
Everything he said after the video surfaced strongly suggested he didn’t know that what he said had been captured on camera until the video was released. While any inconsistencies on that point may not matter in the grander scheme of things, teammates trying to figure out whether they can take Cooper at his word may have a harder time doing so if they think he hasn’t been completely honest about what he knew and when he knew it regarding the video.