Although Eagles receiver Riley Cooper has done a fairly admirable job of falling repeatedly on his sword regarding one of the NFL’s most unlikely off-field incidents, there’s one specific wrinkle in this story that makes us wonder whether he’s simply saying what he thinks he needs to say in order to make it all go away.
“The last few days have been incredibly difficult for me,” Cooper said in the Friday statement regarding his temporary (or possibly longer) departure from the team. “My actions were inexcusable. The more I think about what I did, the more disgusted I get.”
That last sentence is the one that caught our eye. Cooper didn’t utter a racial slur in a public place on Wednesday, when the video surfaced. He said it on June 9.
Unless he was so drunk that he doesn’t remember saying it, how does the disgust not begin to grow until July 31, when the video became public?
Cooper supposedly learned of the video “a couple hours” before addressing it with reporters the day it surfaced. According to CrossingBroad.com, the site that purchased the video for only $150, Cooper previously had been made aware of the video via Twitter. Per the report, people “tweeted at” Cooper 10-to-15 times about the video since the middle of June; Cooper reportedly blocked two of the people who were sending Twitter messages to him about the video.
Regardless of whether the folks who had the video were trying to extort money from Cooper (like the guy who ended up getting 18 months in prison last year after pleading guilty to extorting Robert Griffin III), it’s hard to completely reconcile the tone and content of comments made by Cooper after the video surfaced with the notion that he knew about the video before it was released. Given that Cooper’s perceived sincerity will be a key factor in whether the locker room can move forward, that could be a subtle yet important point for one or more of his teammates.
And if Cooper had a chance to buy the video before it was released, maybe he should have. After the Griffin incident occurred last year, a league source told PFT that extortion attempts happen “[m]ore often than you realize.” In many cases, the player who is being extorted pays the money and moves on.
If the video netted only $150 from CrossingBroad.com, Cooper likely could have had it for not much more than that. Given everything that has happened since the video surfaced, it could have been the best investment Cooper ever made.