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Signs currently point to Cooper getting a second chance

Cooper Getty Images

Three days ago, receiver Riley Cooper left the Eagles.  While no timetable has been established for his return, Peter King of TheMMQB.com believes/reports that, eventually, Cooper will be back.

But Kings adds a caveat that could becomes significant in this case — “unless the situation becomes powerfully untenable in the locker room.”

It arguably already reached that point on Thursday, a day after the latest installment of Gators Gone Wild landed on America’s collective computer screen.  When running back LeSean McCoy gave to the media an honest assessment of his feelings (hey, Chip Kelly said they should always tell the truth, right?), the mood turned dramatically.  Within a day, Cooper was gone.

King compares Cooper’s case to Kelly’s handling of LeGarrette Blount’s sucker punch of an opponent from the first game of the 2009 season.  Banned indefinitely, Blount eventually got a second chance from Kelly.

The last time Kelly dealt with an issue like this, he received advice from former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy.  Kelly, who coached Dungy’s son, Eric, at Oregon, has sought out Dungy again.

“I told [Kelly] to trust his instincts,’’ Dungy told King.  “He can use this as a teaching moment, and his decision could pull this team together.’’

The present situation presents two different realities to Kelly:  (1) from a football standpoint, Cooper isn’t as valuable to the cause as Blount was; and (2) Blount’s case didn’t present a threat to the stability of the locker room.

As we heard from the outset of Cooper’s exit from the team, if the Eagles believe they can replace his expected production with other receivers, he won’t be back.  If they don’t believe they can, he will.

It could be that Kelly already has decided that he needs Cooper, and that the challenge now becomes finding a way to ease him back in to the fold.  Maybe that means having someone like Dungy talk directly to players like McCoy, who aren’t inclined to forgive or forget what Cooper said, or to chalk it up to Cooper being so liquored up that, as King points out, Cooper told friends that he doesn’t remember saying what he said.

King says he’s not sure he believes Cooper was too drunk to recall what he said.  If Cooper’s teammates don’t believe it, or if they have a harder time reconciling Cooper’s reaction after the video was released with the possibility that he knew about the video before it showed up on the Internet, it could be more likely that the “situation becomes powerfully untenable in the locker room.”

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52 Responses to “Signs currently point to Cooper getting a second chance”
  1. smashadams1 says: Aug 5, 2013 8:56 AM

    If you can kill a man, and still be able to play in the league, I don’t see a problem with this whatsoever.

  2. dylude says: Aug 5, 2013 9:05 AM

    This isn’t about saying a word. It’s about the entire sentence. Anyone can let a word slip, say a bad word as a bad joke, etc. and be forgiven in a week, but that isn’t what happened.

    If you want to defend Cooper, then defend the entire sentence. It’s akin to saying “I want to burn all you [insert gay slur]” when you are a contestant on Next Top Model.

    The NFL isn’t a regular workplace office. It’s predominantly black, and saying the sentences Cooper said wouldn’t be tolerated if it were a gay slur in an industry featuring a large percentage of gay workers.

    Cooper needs to go. Period. Chip Kelly’s tenure in the NFL is about to be defined by this. I don’t care what Caucasian writers have to say about this issue. The players who need to respect Chip Kelly aren’t white sports writers and they don’t give Chip Kelly the same pass all these writers are giving him. Chip is currently getting a side-eye from half the players in that locker room. Multiple players have asked to speak to the owner Lurie because they don’t feel Chip has adequately addressed this. Players want Cooper gone, and stop acting like they don’t just because no one wants to make the headline by saying it to ESPN.

    Cooper needs to go.

  3. flyeredup says: Aug 5, 2013 9:07 AM

    Paula Dean took Cooper with the first pick in her fantasy draft.

  4. jmorand47 says: Aug 5, 2013 9:09 AM

    I always wonder what is the Media’s facination with racial conflict? I mean, seriously. Do we really need to read posts on this topic everyday? Now Profootballtalk can be added to the long list of media outlets that can’t / won’t let things go. Nice job, Mike.

  5. tannethrill says: Aug 5, 2013 9:09 AM

    Does Riley Cooper make the Eagles a contender?

    If not then he should have been off the roster the day this situation was brought to the attention of the Eagles.

    Whoever is in charge of P.R. in Philly needs to be replaced.

    Even if Cooper were to double his production he still wouldn’t be worth this trouble.

  6. Sean C. says: Aug 5, 2013 9:10 AM

    It’s sad this locker room had no problem accepting someone who mutilated and killed dogs back.

  7. laxman1944 says: Aug 5, 2013 9:12 AM

    Or getting all boozed up with your boys and some lady friends and drive a bus up to AC for some good times.

    Then whille whooping it up you decide to throw a drink in a ladies face and then procede to dump her on the side of the highway……….classy Lesean McCoy….real classy

  8. jaredo10 says: Aug 5, 2013 9:12 AM

    I love how people look at this like he is accused of murder. move on already

  9. kane337 says: Aug 5, 2013 9:16 AM

    Of course he should. He said a bad word and sincerely apologized for it. He committed no crime.

  10. replacementwriter says: Aug 5, 2013 9:17 AM

    Cooper/blount, makes sense that coopers words are a bigger crime than blount sucker punching, white verbal assault is greater than black physical assault. florio are you going to post a story about Deion Sanders view on this topic or does it not advance your agenda of ruining coopers career?

  11. johnnyoclock says: Aug 5, 2013 9:19 AM

    If Vick can be forgiven, if guys like Dante Stallworth who senselessly killed a man, and then Ray Lewis and the rest can be forgiven for actual actions, then you are beholden to forgive Cooper for words.

    Unless of course, you’re just phony.

  12. southpaw2k says: Aug 5, 2013 9:21 AM

    I’m glad that logic and common sense are prevailing in this case. Cooper’s words were certainly offensive, but the idea of the Eagles cutting him loose was so over the top and nonsensical I’m shocked it was ever explored in the first place. A couple years ago Tiger Woods had used the term “spaz” in an interview, not realizing that the term had an offensive connotation in British lingo (and really, why would he know that?). Once he found out, he had apologized, and life went on. It’s not like the PGA was considering banning him just for using a term that one culture found to be offensive. Cooper deserves the same kind of opportunity.

  13. ace8842 says: Aug 5, 2013 9:24 AM

    The threat to the stability of the locker room is overrated by the media by leaps and bounds. McCoy said he would still block for Cooper, and DeSean Jackson said it is his job to play with Cooper. These are professionals. They are paid to play as a team often with guys they don’t like…you never like all 50 guys in the locker room. This has become a media witch hunt.

  14. kja22 says: Aug 5, 2013 9:29 AM

    Ray Lewis murdered someone and he was welcomed back with open arms

  15. abninf says: Aug 5, 2013 9:34 AM

    That’s a far cry from “Riley Cooper’s NFL career may not last much longer”.

  16. 76seahawk says: Aug 5, 2013 9:40 AM

    What is going on now,with him taking “time off” is he might fall behind enough to allow others to overtake him. I doubt it. The man will be back with the Eagles. We will see if he makes it to the final 53.

  17. lightcleric says: Aug 5, 2013 9:40 AM

    I really hope someone does something stupider so we can go beat that dead horse instead.

  18. fargovikesfan says: Aug 5, 2013 9:42 AM

    So its ok to abuse and kill countless numbers of dogs, but you say an offensive word and you’re career is over? If that’s the case Chris Rock should have been out of a job 20 years ago.

  19. dylude says: Aug 5, 2013 9:43 AM

    Riley Cooper doesn’t play in a league where his coach needs dogs to respect him. Chip Kelly isn’t going to be respected like a head coach needs to be–right or wrong–by African American players.

    If you think Cooper is worth that trouble, then either you don’t know how to read stats or you just really want to fight for your right to use racial slurs (and then be employed in a league dominated with that race you slurred).

    No contestant on Next Top Model could say “burn all [gay slur].” It’s not just the word, it’s the sentence and the industry he is in. Politicians can’t say things that we can say. Teachers can’t say things that a sanitation worker can say.

    Until Vick has to throw a pass to a pit bull, I don’t see the equivalence. It isn’t about being moral, it’s pragmatic. Cooper can be the more moral person, and still be sent to another team while Vick stays. Cooper can stay in the league clearly, but he needs to be sent packing first and not just for sensitivity training.

  20. morty999 says: Aug 5, 2013 9:48 AM

    “It’s sad this locker room had no problem accepting someone who mutilated and killed dogs back.”

    Couldn’t have said it any better myself. The double standard that defines our society. It’s absurd. If McCoy considered Cooper a friend before, its absurd a word can change that. To me actions speak louder than words.

  21. cobrala2 says: Aug 5, 2013 9:50 AM

    Pretty sure the signs never indicated anything to the contrary, Michael. You are of course entitled to a different opinion and to look into things beyond the surface, and that’s great… but THE SIGNS haven’t wavered whatsoever.

  22. hendawg21 says: Aug 5, 2013 9:51 AM

    He may get his second chance, however, throughout the league you don’t think when the Eagles show up on someone’s schedule there won’t be some/plenty of players licking their chops to get a shot in oh him?

    I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve a second chance, but if his fellow players feel the punishment deemed to this point wasn’t enough they just make take it into their own hands as I said on the field.

    The league says since the team has already instituted punishment they can’t as part of the collective bargaining agreement, well there are some actions such as this where the league as whole says ok this will not be tolerated and implement it’s punishment as well.

  23. officialgame says: Aug 5, 2013 9:58 AM

    My opinion is Cooper’s problem has more to do with excessive alcohol use then him being a racist. He was severely wasted at the concert which is no excuse but certainly shouldn’t be released because of it. He needs to get his act together, learn from his mistakes, and become a better person.

  24. lks311 says: Aug 5, 2013 10:04 AM

    I’m glad that “signs point” to Cooper getting another chance. But, people that don’t get the gravity of a guy being comfortable enough to rip that off at a Kenny Chesney concert and then want his African-American teammates to just forgive him, are clueless.

    My guess would be if this had happened at practice in the heat of battle this would be over by now. But, Cooper only felt comfortable enough to say this when the odds were 40,000 (fans) to 10 (security guards) tells me, and likely his teammates, all I need to know about his character.

  25. harrisonhits2 says: Aug 5, 2013 10:05 AM

    Once the real games are being played no one in the locker room will care what Cooper said if he helps them win. This whole thing has been so overblown by the media solely for the purpose of increasing hits to their websites.

  26. aa1829 says: Aug 5, 2013 10:09 AM

    Again, what was said or done to this guy to make him mad enough to want to climb a fence and fight an entire crowd. Does anyone else have any responsibility here, or do they get a pass?

  27. ravensrooster94 says: Aug 5, 2013 10:15 AM

    The unavoidable football truth here is that if Jeremy Maclin had not torn his ACL, then Cooper would already be gone.

    Dylude is correct. Chip Kelly’s tenure will be forever defined by what he does in this situation. Sending Cooper off for what is nothing more than sensitivity training is only postponing the issue and the day when Cooper walks back into that locker room.

    We got to remember that this wasn’t a personal thing (one on one). Riley Cooper managed to insult an entire race of human beings in public. Bottom line: If the locker room cannot not withstand this individual, then he should be gone.

  28. icdogg says: Aug 5, 2013 10:22 AM

    There needs to be come proportionality here (“let the punishment fit the crime”), as it turns out there are actually worse things a person can do and be forgiven for. This is, however, not to say that this isn’t a “big deal”.

    Most NFL players are religious, and are willing to show “Christian forgiveness” if they feel an apology is sincere. Others would cite the fact that they have done things in life that they are glad weren’t caught on tape as they showed similarly terrible judgment.

  29. bigfanhere says: Aug 5, 2013 10:39 AM

    I love the “holier than thou” posts about someone making a racial slur when teams around the league have welcomed with open arms men who have beaten their wives and girlfriends, abandoned their child support obligations, broken and entered and “dookied” in closets, beaten cops, killed people while drunk driving, been involved with killing people without driving and a myriad of other crimes against humanity.

    Does anyone actually think this guy is the only NFL player to use a racial slur this year (or this month or even this week)? Does the irony not reek that we have an NFL team whose entire identity is a racial slur?!

    I love football, lets get back to the game between the lines and walk away from this media bully pulpit.

  30. nananatman says: Aug 5, 2013 10:42 AM

    The real solution is to film every drunk player that is no where near work to find out what they’re really like. Here’s a transcript of Mike Vicks video: “Kill that bitch bitch. Bitch I said kill that bitch.”

  31. nceaglesfan says: Aug 5, 2013 10:43 AM

    My buggiest problem with this continuing story is that it has become a non-football issue. I used to enjoy this site for insightful football conversation.

    It has been relegated to a platform for anyone to vent their frustration regarding anything from gay rights to politics to racism…

    Can we get back to football rumors, PLEASE

  32. helixir1 says: Aug 5, 2013 10:48 AM

    Most everybody has said the N word at least once in their life and probably more. He didn’t know that he was being recorded. Everyone needs to get on with there lives and forget about this.

  33. mkat33 says: Aug 5, 2013 10:48 AM

    1. I don’t give a flying flip what Peter King believes. What I believe is that King is a pompous ass who will take any chance to put someone down because he thinks it makes himself look better.

    2. Cooper’s production or lack thereof should have no bearing on this discussion. If what he did was unforgivably wrong, he should go. If it was regrettable and offensive, yet forgivable, choice of words, he should stay. Anyone who says otherwise may as well say they have no problem with politicians being corrupt, so long as they bring home an ample amount of pork. Right is right. Wrong is wrong. Period.

    3. I don’t give others the power to offend me. For Cooper to say what he said, he truly was too drunk to be held responsible or he’s too intellectually inferior to know better. Either way, that’s not good enough to give him any power over my feelings. How about these big, bad football players whose “ittle feewings” are hurt man up and stop being such a bunch of wimps . . . especially those who have done a lot worse things than Cooper did. I’m sure most of them have also said very derogatory things, but weren’t unfortunate enough to have someone recording it.

  34. CKL says: Aug 5, 2013 11:08 AM

    I heard Faulk, sanders and Irvin discuss this on NFLN and every single one of them agreed that they can’t ask anyone to stop saying that word unless they as a race stop doing it. I don’t think this is mostly black players who can’t let it go. In my opinion, this is the media (“1-800 whitey guilt” if you remember the old “In Living Color” skit) that can’t let it go.

    There’s almost no one who don’t believe the word is awful (along with other slurs) and wouldn’t use it. All races have the same opportunities to succeed, unlike pre civil rights legislation minorities. I have to ask, whose agenda does it serve to keep dividing races and people of different sexual orientations over words?

  35. kupdeville says: Aug 5, 2013 11:14 AM

    It just drives me crazy about this Cooper thing.. Yeah, he was a dumb-ass and by all accounts his apology was sincere.. Was his discretion worst than some of the players disrespecting women (McCoy) or murder (Stallworth, Lewis) or so many other spousal battery offenses. What about the racial attack by Charlie Rangle or Race Baiting Al Sharpton… Mr. Mayor where is your condemnation of these A-holes??? Just sayin..

  36. lifelongwanderer says: Aug 5, 2013 11:15 AM

    everybody is dying to know— what does Warren Moon have to say?

  37. greymares says: Aug 5, 2013 11:32 AM

    If I was a black player in the Eagle locker room, I would now feel confident I know how Cooper feels about black people. I certainly would feel that in no way that would have anything to do with his ability to play football. now i might want to know how he feels about Obama care, gay marriage, abortion and world peace.

  38. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Aug 5, 2013 11:47 AM

    Vick came out and said he and the team accepted the apology from Cooper. Vick seemed ready to move on. That’s good enough for me.

  39. hlmatty1 says: Aug 5, 2013 11:59 AM

    I agree with most of the posters that what he did is not sufficient to have him lose his job. But to those people who always equate racist language with the rape of Nanking, you might have an argument for removing him if the rest of the locker room — and especially Cooper’s critics — are choir boys; i.e., no felony convictions, domestic abuse arrests, multiple children from multiple mothers; unpaid child support; and just plain sons of guns. If so, then remove him to remove the taint. But if you have a locker room full of guys that Will Rogers never met, and if the players can deal with the other miscreants, then they can deal with him.

  40. mrshill0905 says: Aug 5, 2013 12:13 PM

    To compare a race to DOGS…is idiotic!! Just Ridiculous!! You need better justifications…and why does no one mention Ben Rothlisberger???

  41. jenkinsjenkins9 says: Aug 5, 2013 12:52 PM

    Wow… People love dogs more than a race of people….

    Cruelty to animals means more to people than cruelty to other people!!!

    Dog lovers love dogs more than their own kind, unless… maybe they are part dog ??? No???

  42. cowpiesnotcowboys says: Aug 5, 2013 12:58 PM

    I hope he doesn’t blow his second chance by doing something inexcusable like attending another Kenny Chesney concert.

  43. allinskins says: Aug 5, 2013 1:43 PM

    The comparison of Vick is so widely different. Remember Vick second chance came only after getting “CUT” by his present team and then tossed in jail. Then and only then did Vick get a second chance. Ok Cooper said sorry and the jury seems split on the inherited value of that. But Cooper needs to step away from Philly on a team where 80% of his co-worker are of a race in which he disparaged extremely. His second chance would have to come on another team “IF” it is to be at all. Just like Vick, but I can’t see another locker room not having the same problem. Bottomline Cooper is not a future HOFer so he won’t be missed either way.

  44. officialgame says: Aug 5, 2013 1:56 PM

    What Cooper did wasn’t illegal, what Vick did was. Big difference.

  45. eagleman115 says: Aug 5, 2013 2:34 PM

    hlmatty1 says:Aug 5, 2013 11:59 AM

    I agree with most of the posters that what he did is not sufficient to have him lose his job. But to those people who always equate racist language with the rape of Nanking, you might have an argument for removing him if the rest of the locker room — and especially Cooper’s critics — are choir boys; i.e., no felony convictions, domestic abuse arrests, multiple children from multiple mothers; unpaid child support; and just plain sons of guns. If so, then remove him to remove the taint. But if you have a locker room full of guys that Will Rogers never met, and if the players can deal with the other miscreants, then they can deal with him.
    __________________________________

    This is about RIley Cooper period!!! has nothing to do with other peoples background. Stop making excuses for him!!

  46. doubleogator says: Aug 5, 2013 3:11 PM

    Response to jenkinsjenkins9. Wow! People love dogs more than a race of people! Dogs were physically abused and trained to kill each other for sport. Riley Cooper said an offensive word, period! Where’s the logic in your assessment?

  47. fatpappy says: Aug 5, 2013 3:29 PM

    Maybe Cooper should just come out and say he “found jesus” like Vick did. Then could we just move past this? SMH

  48. nickster31 says: Aug 5, 2013 3:34 PM

    If a precedent is going to be set, then it needs to be set.

    You want to fine him? Fine, fine him.

    You want to suspend him? Fine, suspend him.

    You want to kick him out of the league? Fine, kick him out of the league.

    HOWEVER, the next time ANYONE else says it, it MUST be the EXACT SAME PUNISHMENT! And every player after that, the same consequence.

    No exceptions. The rules need to be beyond the color of skin. ANYONE says the word – GONE.

    In the immortal words of Dr. King:

    “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood…..I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    ANYONE who has said the “N” word, has NO RIGHT to say anything about Cooper saying it.

    In the immortal words of Jesus Christ:

    John 8:7 – “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone”

  49. winsaintswin says: Aug 5, 2013 3:56 PM

    This is between Cooper and his employer period. Neither McCoy nor any other player on the team can trade Cooper, cut him, put him on LOA, nothin’.

    Cooper PO’d his boss, the boss probably senses this could hurt potentially hurt cash flow, and now he has a decision to make.

  50. stealthieone says: Aug 5, 2013 5:26 PM

    It speaks volumes the type of replies that people are giving. I’d wager those speaking in defense of cooper also thought Zimmerman was not guilty.

    But what really speaks volumes is how you place the importance of lives of dogs over an entire ethnic group.

    Or when you’re saying all the bad things nfl players have did or been accused of… Its only black players… As if everyone has amnesia when it comes to rothlisberger raping TWO women.

  51. bluebongzilla says: Aug 5, 2013 9:41 PM

    Yes, let Michael Vick be your moral compass <—- LOL

  52. mkat33 says: Aug 6, 2013 7:24 AM

    @stealthieone: I posted in defense of Cooper keeping his job, but I did not defend his words.

    1. I’m not an expert in Florida law, but I do think Zimmerman should have stayed in his car and kept his distance from Martin. If thee is a charge of criminal stupidity, I expect I would find him guilty. But, as I said, I’m not qualified to question the verdict because I wasn’t in the court or the jury room and I don’t know for sure what happened that night.

    2. Vick actually killed the dogs. Cooper caused no physical harm to any person, let alone an entire ethnic group. And, although words can hurt, why would an entire ethnic group, or any member of it, allow themselves to be hurt by the words of a drunken idiot that they don’t even know. Cut me a break.

    3. No amnesia here. I believe that Rapelisberger is scum and was allowed to buy his way out of prison. That just shouldn’t be.

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