For the ’97 Panthers, it “took a while” to get past Kerry Collins’ slur

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The Riley Cooper situation in Philly is rare, but not unprecedented.  In 1997, former Panthers quarterback Kerry Collins used the same word Cooper did.

Former Panthers G.M. Bill Polian explained on ESPN’s new NFL Insiders show that “it took a while” for the Panthers to get past Collins’ drunken use of a racial slur toward receiver Muhsin Muhammad.

“It eventually cleared up,” Polian said.  “But believe me it took a while.”

Polian said that, for the Eagles, the biggest question is unity and harmony.  “If Riley Cooper is in that [locker] room,” Polian said, “does it divide the room?”

And for those who think it’s not a big deal, Polian would disagree.

“It stings,” Polian said.  “It’s personal, it’s societal.  And it’s very deep.  I can’t think of anything worse that you can have happen to your team.”

So that’s the magnitude of the challenge the Eagles will face, if they decide to try to move forward with Cooper.

35 responses to “For the ’97 Panthers, it “took a while” to get past Kerry Collins’ slur

  1. Alright Kelly, there’s only one way to fix this. You and Cooper have to make out in front of the team for a few minutes. It will be so awkward and uncomfortable that everyone will forget about the racism.

  2. You guys are gonna get every last little drop out of this story you can. To me it seems as though 40-50 year old white journalist are having a harder time dealing with what cooper said than any African American is. Move on geez

  3. For lord’s sake Eagles, STOP the silly dance and send him down the road. This is simply not a fixable problem, and what is worse, it will spawn related AND unrelated issues throughout the year, rendering the locker room a chaotic mess, which will surely lead to failure on the field, and the Eagles must win now, particularly after last year’s record. Using a professional football team to make a sociological point in tolerance or to provide a lesson in diversity is a fruitless mission indeed. 1997 is a very long time ago and outlooks and perspectives of athletes, as well as the public in general are not remotely the same. Expecting the resolution of this like-incident to follow the same course is folly.

  4. Cooper was very very ignorant for stating what he did; however, so have been a lot of comments made on both sides of the isle – with that said Deion Sanders summed it up well yesterday.

  5. Kelly is making a mistake keeping this guy on the roster. Everyone is watching how he’s handling this situation and he could lose a sizable portion of the lockerroom even before the birds play a regular season game. I don’t like to see a guy lose a career off a mistake, but some mistakes are hard to recover from and this is one of those. How good will Cooper be anyway knowing that there will be plenty of guys gunning for him – and maybe some of his own teammates will set him up for the blow.

  6. Yeah cuz. They are white.when your white you have to watch what you say.if you are of any other race…you can say what you want

  7. “I can’t think of anything worse to happen to a team.”

    How about guys on the team murder a teammate, and then the coach try and frame the dead guy as a drug dealer…which actually happened at Baylor.

    Everybody works with people that they wouldn’t hang out with if they weren’t employed at the same time. Matt Birk was a captain for the Ravens last year as was Brendon Ayenbendajo, who were on polar opposite sides of some pretty big political issues. Their viewpoints basically see each other as monsters. But they were professional enough to know that they got paid to be football players and they performed well enough to win the Super Bowl. apparently the Eagles don’t have professionals.

  8. If a co-worker of mine makes a similar mistake as Cooper did, I’m not going to let that affect my ability to do my job. If you are so weak-minded that you allow something like this to destroy the unity of your team, and subsequently lower your overall chance of success as a unit….that is just plain pathetic. There will be 53 men chosen to represent the Philadelphia Eagles on the field, and regardless of whether or not Cooper is among them, those 53 guys better leave the past where it is and look forward towards a Lombardi trophy…and NOTHING ELSE.

  9. I know I would not liked to be called that N-word. Or perhaps a white N-word. Definitely not a Wigger. White-Trash, Red-Neck, Cracker, Darkie, Coon; all equally offensive right?

    Somehow in this country we have to have an honest discussion about this. I was raised in a time that these epithets were fairly common. I was in the fifth grade before I went to an integrated school. I just wonder if any of the offended team-mates have used less than flattering remarks about another person based solely on race? I would just say clean your own heart out and ask forgiveness and maybe you will be able to forgive.

  10. Can we please get past the use of the N-word? He could have said “I’m gonna kick the ass of every African American in here” and, it would have been just as bad. Damn the semantics, look at the root of his statement.

  11. The fact that people think a group of African American professionals are not mentally or emotionally strong enough to get past a white man muttering a single insulting word is the real issue here. We all agree Cooper was wrong, but give the Eagles some credit here.

  12. I hate that word.

    I wish it would just fade away – and I wish African Americans would stop using it themselves, whether it’s Chris Rock in a bold routine, or just two brothers on the street.

    Let’s just all stop using that word. Period.

  13. “You guys are gonna get every last little drop out of this story you can. To me it seems as though 40-50 year old white journalist are having a harder time dealing with what cooper said than any African American is. Move on geez”

    Normally I would agree with you. Florio may be a middle aged white liberal journalist and 99.9% of the stories he pushes are questionable, but he is right to be covering this as much as he is. This is a big deal! When you have a white player saying that to a black man and it rolling out of his mouth with the ease that it did, and the fact that more than half of his teammates and the league are black its news. This is probably the second most newsworthy story outside of x’s and o’s besides the Aaron Hernandez deal.

    My 2 cents as an Eagles fan is this: They should cut him purely for the reason of getting rid of the distraction and division in the locker room. I never condone people who want to destroy peoples careers and livelihood for making a mistake like this as what people wanted to do to Paula Dean and Imus. It may be the most ugly word you can use but lets face it, it was only words not a criminal act as despicable as it was. But in this case for the sake of the team they need to cut him.

  14. Back in my hoops playing days, I was called the N-word once on the court…..AND I’M A WHITE GUY!!!

    Freedom of speech, folks. You have the right to say whatever you want in this country. No matter how stupid it is.

  15. Not so sure they really got past it. After an 0-4 start in 1998 (an indication all was not well in the locker room) Collins was traded to the Giants where he received a fresh start.

    Collins had to address a personal alcohol problem.

  16. Everybody uses words about others in private conversations that they wouldn’t use in PUBLIC. I have friends of other races that I truly respect and whose company I enjoy. Yet I have certainly said things about others (and tolerated hearing them) in settings where there was ‘just us’. I defy anybody to deny that they have used offensive language at one point or another. However, I think I’m smart enough to not use the same words in PUBLIC even if I were intoxicated.

    I doubt seriously if Mr Cooper is actually a racist, but it looks like he has brought his career to an end, sadly, because of his sheer stupidity.

  17. The problem with the N-word in society is that in todays use of the word, when a person says it, it doesn’t necessarily invoke racism.

    Because there is a double-standard for black people in their ability to use the word freely as if it has no racial ramifications (it still does) you never really know if when a person says it, they’re saying it because they’re racist or they’re saying it because they think they are free to.

    The ultimate fact is, saying the N-word does not make you a racist. That’s why Cooper hasn’t been cut, that’s why Goodell hasn’t stepped in, and that’s why as soon as we stop having these reports, Cooper can be free to rejoin his coworkers.

    Excited for tomorrows update on Racist-Watch 2013

  18. Why do white people not understand. I know when I heard Travon called George Zimmerman a creepy ass c-word I was inconsolable like every other English-American. It was all I could do to keep myself from looting the Bananna Republic in the mall. I feel your pain brothers.

  19. These guys have to be professional about it think about the team. Is he better or worse for the team? If he is a valuable asset, then they should find a way to forgive. There was a comment that if they can’t forgive him, it says something about how will the team handle adversity on the field. Here’s the thing about a team. You don’t have to like who you work with, but if you don’t RESPECT who you work with, that could poison the team or seriously hamper its efforts. Doesn’t matter if they don’t like him. If they can’t respect him, he’s gotta go.

    I would close with this. What happens if he used a gay slur? Would this have exploded the way it did? Unless there was at least one openly gay person in the locker room AND it wasn’t a distraction, I think the answer is no. The problem for the Eagles is not what he said, but that it’s a distraction for the organization and the locker room.

  20. upperdecker19 says:
    Aug 5, 2013 7:35 PM
    Back in my hoops playing days, I was called the N-word once on the court…..AND I’M A WHITE GUY!!!

    Freedom of speech, folks. You have the right to say whatever you want in this country. No matter how stupid it is.

    No one took his freedom of speech away. He said what he said didn’t he. The problem with freedom of speech is that it comes with freedom of consequence. You can go into a building and say “bomb”, but there is consequences. That’s life. Another point that baffles me. You or anyone of another race can’t tell blacks or any ethnic group or minority how they should feel. You haven’t had you father tell you stories of sitting on The back of the bus or drinking out of a water fountain that reads “colored” or had the KKK plant a burning cross in your father and grandparent from yard screaming “n-word, get out here”. Well That is the history that most of everyone black person I know has a story like this so this is the history that our parents have lived and that lives through us.

  21. Well…let’s be clear; unlike Collins, Cooper didn’t use the word on a specific teammate. He used it to refer to people he didn’t know.

    I’m not advocating what Cooper did. But let’s not pretend the situations are identical.

  22. ITS ONLY A WORD!! Big Deal. Why is everyone so weak to where a word bothers them. BTW, everyone has said that word at least once in their life so these hypocrites need to let it go.

  23. I am playing the BULL SH!T card. Rough ass men from all walks of life that find a way to get along. Working for a common goal as a team. I would bet my next pay check that at any given time that particular N word along with many other not so nice names are being used in the locker room and or on the field by both black and whites without any one crying about it. Go to work around cops,construction workers, soldiers, firemen, dock workers or any other occupation where there is an element of danger and I will show you that no race,sex or religion is safe from being cracked on. This goes for both men and women. White or black. It doesn’t make it right and it is 100% not PC. As long as you are part of the “team” you can talk crap about each other. I’m not sure who made that rule and I am very sorry if it may offend some people but I can assure you it is an absolute fact and happens every day.

  24. “Two nights before the game against the Broncos, at a bar in Spartanburg, S.C., offensive tackle Norberto Davidds-Garrido, a Mexican-American, punched Collins in the face after Collins used a racial slur when referring to the lineman. Later that night Collins directed another racial slur at wideout Muhsin Muhammad, who is black. Collins allegedly had been drinking heavily. Those incidents increased concern about Collins and alcohol;”

    Riley Cooper wasn’t the first and he wont be the last. It’s just something about some white folks and alcohol that evokes a spirit of the grandfather clause verbiage.

    Those trying to compare what some black folks have amended the N word to, are spinning the context to serve as justification for it’s intended usage. I too feel it’s wrong for any to use it but there is no comparison in how it’s applied… Buffoonery VS. Hate.

  25. well again …….he is being bashed for using a racial slur ……RIGHT ? what if he had said “I will fight evey REDSKIN in there ” would he be in trouble ??? so after cooks in your head for abit , there is a group of people that needs to get over themselves , you make the call !

  26. Kerry Collins wasn’t traded to the Giants; he was cut and played briefly for the Saints before ending up with the Giants and leading them to the Super Bowl in 2000-2001 where they were completely dominated by the Ravens. Come on, man!

  27. As others have said, you don’t need to like everyone on your team. I know I played college ball with a few guys I couldn’t stand, that didn’t prevent me from doing my job and being a good teammate. The idea that everyone needs to hang out and be friends for a team to be successful is a ridiculous notion.

    And last I checked the only way a word can be offensive is if you CHOOSE to be offended. I taught in the hood and was called everything in the book including N. Just ignore it an move on. Stop acting like a victim.

  28. One has to question who is the real racist, The guy who called someone the N word while angry and drunk? OR the guys who think he should be kicked off the team for it?

    The people that want Cooper off of this team are the ones that are either very racist themselves or are so against racism they will do anything to justify their issues.

  29. Who cares, I can guarantee the same word was used probably 20 times that same day by black Eagles players before Cooper said it. If black people want the word to disappear, they need to quit using it, it would practically disappear. Not exactly sure why it’s OK for one person to say the word and another not OK just because their skin color is different.

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