Riley Cooper thinks penalizing racial slurs would be “a good rule”

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Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper met the media after signing a five-year contract extension with the Eagles on Thursday, something that seemed highly unlikely after he was videotaped using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert last summer.

Most of the discussion was about the extension, but the timing of the press conference meant that recent talk about penalizing players for the use of racial slurs on the field also came up. Early reports about a rule specifically banning such slurs have given way to the league potentially making them a point of emphasis under existing rules against abusive language on the field.

Some players have come out against that idea, saying it would be too hard for officials to police effectively. Cooper sees things a different way, however.

“I think it’s a good rule,” Cooper said, via John Gonzalez of

Word of such an emphasis only came up recently, which leaves steps for the league to take before anything is put in place for the 2014 season but some action seems likely in the wake of several instances of players uttering slurs on and off the field in the last year.

57 responses to “Riley Cooper thinks penalizing racial slurs would be “a good rule”

  1. I’d be interested to see how the refs would announce the penalty on the mic. “Use of the N word, #14 offense, 15 yard penalty, third down…” This seems to controversial to enforce as a mere yardage penalty.

  2. He had to answer the question in the affirmative.
    What did you think he would say, ” Well, I have experience with Racial slurs. I dont think a penalty would be in order”

  3. Nothing Cooper did could be penalized right? Its only during a game, when you have to say it, you know, another person…who also plays in the NFL…and can rip your head off (I assume).

  4. OMG this game has been fine with all the trash pretty sure when things were segregated things now pale in comparison to what i said now…

    just let them settle it on the field..handle the rest later smh..

  5. These are grown men we are talking about, grown men in America where free speech is celebrated. I don’t think that these guys should be saying whatever they want, they certainly should be held to some type of standard, but policing such a thing will prove to be very difficult. If anything, when a player or coach uses a racial slur or what have you, there should be a “warning system” of some kind put in before you just start penalizing everyone for it.

    I can see it now, a ref throws a flag and the confused crowd waits to hear the verdict….and the official says: #31 said a bad word…10-yard penalty…if it happens again we call his parents.

  6. Just put a really big “slur” jar on the sidelines. If you use one you have to run out to your car and grab that $15k from your ashtray and toss it in the jar before you can re-enter the game.

  7. So often we see an incorrect number called for a holding/offsides/PI/etc. penalty. If this dumb rule is implemented and a player is misidentified, doesn’t he have a slander suit with thousands, if not millions of witnesses?

  8. Its simple: mike up the players when they play. Mike them all. They’re out there representing their team, city and the NFL. While on company time they can watch their language.

  9. The NFL is asking too much of the part time, already over loaded refs. Why not demand team owners and GMs to police their teams when notified of infractions by the league?

  10. This has to be one of the most ridiculous rule ever by the NFL, period. I guess it’s OK to call someone a mf though, nothing wrong with that huh?

  11. So what happens when it’s fourth and 1. Game on the line, in the Super Bowl, and someone gets a first down for the opponent using the n-word. Or what if they don’t after the use same team uses the n-word in a congratulatory fashion?

    How about if it isn’t called? Even better.

    Are we going to have mics on the sidelines? As well. 15-yard penalties are big.

  12. Interesting take. I heard Michael Wilbon yesterday on ESPN talk about the fact that he uses the N-word nearly every day in casual conversation with other African-Americans, and that there is nothing cruel or hateful about its use during these conversations.

    In other words, it’s all about context, and how those around hear it.

    That presents a problem: how are the refs supposed to interpret that? If the word is used on the field as a “term of endearment” rather than a racial slur, how is the ref supposed to figure that out?

    The NFL is over-stepping it’s bounds here by wandering into speech control and thought control. The refs have enough to do already, and they sure as heck don’t need to be saddled with the role of speech and thought police.

  13. I know it’s easy to make really stupid jokes, but lost in this conversation is how well the Eagles players handled that whole situation.

  14. I’d say that after he yelled the N word and had to face his own teammates and friends his opinion on the subject is more about that, than trying to be a good guy for the media. the guy made an ass of himself and learned from it.

  15. It isn’t always a term of endearment when afro-americans use that word with each other. Listen on youtube how Jamie Foxx talks about Katt Williams. Foxx uses the term like most people would think a stereotypical white racist would use it. He was making fun of Katt Williams the whole time, so it wasn’t like the context was a friendly little chit-chat.

    As for how the officials would call it, it would simply be a personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. It is a 15 yard penalty which is exactly what you get for a penalty such as that.

    I agree that policing this on the field is an issue. How exactly do you know which person said what? Are all the players going to have to wear microphones?

    And of course there is that “cultural” issue where it is okay for some people to say the word, and not others. To me, that’s just BS. The word is either offensive, or it isn’t. Either everyone can use it, or everyone can’t. If I can’t use a word simply because of my skin tone, then I am being discriminated against and guess what, that’s racist.

  16. If anyone is familiar with the musical “Hair” there is a song in which they make light of all the derogatory names attributed to blacks over the years. If you are familiar with it you have to laugh thinking how tough it will be for some referees to know what terms will get a fine or penalty and which ones won’t. They will have to carry a booklet and take a time out to determine if what was said falls into the 30 or so words you can’t call a black person. Some are far worse than the “n” word. If you haven’t heard it google it or find it on youtube it will be well worth it to listen and realize just how hard it is to legislate words and just how stupid.

  17. Would it be a penalty if you used the one with the letter “A” at the end of it or just the letter “R”? Would the Ref be able to say so and so said it without sing it himself? These are the questions inquiring minds want to know

  18. The simple solution is to change the words just enough to be non-offensive, say… NINJA.
    Just imagine walking into the locker room and
    hearing; “What up my Nin-Ja”
    too much fun

  19. The football field is a work place. If you can’t hold your tongue too bad. These guys are supposed to be grown men. Not a bunch of kids hurling insults.

    I can’t believe the amount of people here who act like it would take an act of God to be professional and play a game they are greatly rewarded with by shutting their mouth.

    If you don’t have enough discipline to not use derogatory terms find a new job.

  20. 15 yard penalty and possible ejection for the n word on the field

    5 year 25 million dollar contract for the n word off the field

    Makes sense

  21. First of all, yes what else is he supposed to say. Secondly, really? How pc is everything going to get…

    Just another rule to add flags and slow down the game, and as someone else stated, obviously a great one to help fix outcomes. Use of the word on the field probably occurs even more than holding

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