Brandon Boykin clarifies, says Chip Kelly just can’t communicate

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Now-Steelers cornerback Brandon Boykin brought up an old topic when his initial remarks on being traded from the Eagles suggested that coach Chip Kelly wasn’t comfortable with black men.

But upon arriving at Steelers camp, Boykin tried to clarify his remarks, saying Kelly’s problem was more one of communication.

“When you’re a player, you want to be able to relate to your coach off the field,” Boykin said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “There were times he just didn’t talk to people. You would walk down the hallway, he wouldn’t say anything to you. I’m not saying he’s a racist in any way. . . .

“I felt a lot of guys in that locker room feel the same way. Of course, when you’re in the organization, you’re not going to voice your opinion. For me, I’ve always been a guy of honesty. Not trying to put anybody out in any way, but if you’re honest with me, I’ll be honest with you, and I felt like that honesty wasn’t there all the time.”

Boykin also said he was finished talking about Kelly, which is probably a good idea.

The idea of Kelly being racist, first broached by former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, seemed ludicrous on its face. But Boykin’s initial remarks that Kelly was “uncomfortable around men of our culture,” can still be true while not equalling racism.

The group of people Kelly seems most uncomfortable with is people. He’s approached the NFL with a style which borders on Moneyball, only more ruthless — treating players like commodities to be maximized or brokered, rather than individuals with feelings.

It’s easier to sell that at the high levels of the NCAA, where the football coach is practically a deity whose power can be absolute. But as teenagers grow into adults, they’re going to want to feel respected. And if Kelly can’t figure out a way to strike that balance, he may eventually find himself more comfortable in the college game.

29 responses to “Brandon Boykin clarifies, says Chip Kelly just can’t communicate

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Kelly has lost his team already. Showing no signs of adopting change, he’ll be gone quicker than he destroyed this team.

  2. You are right Darin. Maybe Kelly is NOT comfortable around Black Culture. Boykin’s clarification is something I am so glad you reported on but more importantly in general the concept that being uncomfortable around Black culture does not make him or anyone else a racist. So long as there is no disrespect accompanying that uncomfortable feeling then Racism is not germane to the conversation. Especially in Kelly’s world as odd as it is known to be

    But for the sake of a better understanding of this “Odd Bird” (pun intended) in Philadelphia (Eagles fans please read before you diss) I would like to take it just a little further . I did not read or hear anything from Boykin that specifically said there was a racial bias. In fact Boykin made it clear later that he does not see Kelly as a racist.

    I did see where Boykin said there was a disconnect between Kelly and him.. and as it appears, from anecdotal evidence (short stories about Kelly) almost every other person in the Eagles camp as well has experience Kelly in this manner. Kelly is NOT that warm fuzzy guy who wants to run up and give anyone a hug. .

    “uncomfortable around grown men of our culture.”

    This is a generalized statement. It could mean Black Culture OR the Hip Hop or Rap Culture or the mindset of the millennial or any number of other things BESIDES race. I know people think Hip Hop and Rap are black culture… but that is a misconception and that assumption is (not surprisingly) racist in itself… but it can also show a disconnect in society between other cultures in a generational way. That genre of music crosses racial and other cultural and socio-economic barriers as well.. that does not make the disconnect “racial” in nature.

    Only ONE player(McCoy) and one ex (fired) coach (Tray) even hinted at this and NOT ONE current or former Player, coach or otherwise has said Chip Kelly is a racist for one simple reason.. he is not.

    Misunderstood? Yea! Kelly being strange to most people? Yes! Kelly limited in social skill outside of football.. you better believe it. He lives eats and breathes football from all accounts.But he is not a racist.

    What I HAVE heard and read is that Kelly is a “strange bird” (another pun can be accepted but not intended) and he does not have good social skills outside of football and when he is alone (and he is often alone even around people) it is with his thoughts .

    It has been noted by many outsiders that his extent of conversational skills is almost exclusively FOOTBALL. Which when people encounter him “walking down the halls” or otherwise disconnected that he is almost to the minute constantly thinking about football. This is not my assessment it has been reported in other places

    People do not like Kelly… I am fine with that.. and he is as well… BUT…Making this about race is a real disservice to Kelly and the entire Eagles organization, and it is wrong, when in all probability it is due to Kelly’s inability to connect on an interpersonal level with others INCLUDING his players of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Even Boykin himself went out of his way to make clear he does NOT consider Kelly a racist.

  3. Brett Favre wrote in his book back years ago that Mike Holmgren would pass him in the hallways and not speak to him. Not every coach is gonna make you feel like you a really special and you get a little gold star. Some are detached and they view it as very cut throat. Now if your a superstar you get a lot different treatment than if you are just another player. Not an Eagles or Kelly fan but geez other teams make moves and its cost cutting or doesn’t fit their scheme but it is deeper than that I guess for the Eagles………

  4. I think the problem is just that different coaches suit different players.

    Boykin will probably thrive under a players coach like Tomlin.

  5. So now we’re crying because Chip wouldn’t say “hi” in the hallway, like this is jr. high.

    Man…the mental age of these younger players. It’s like they’re pre-teens.

  6. Two things I liked when reading this:

    1) Boykin clarified and specified Chip’s not racist.

    I’m glad the Boy King has ended it for those willing to pay attention. Also shows the difference in his character compared to some former Eagles.

    2) “…“uncomfortable around men of our culture,” can still be true while not equaling racism.”

    I’m glad such statements are blossoming in the public knowledgebase. One of those reality checks some of us need sometimes.

  7. Chip Kelly can’t shut up for 10 seconds. I just find it hard to believe he is tight lipped with anyone. These kids err…men who have bills dropping out of their pockets don’t want to be talked to. They want to be on highlight films and when a coach, any coach won’t include them in his plans they go back to being kids crying about no respect. Most American workers only wish they were talked to by there boss as much as football coaches talk to players.

  8. Here we go again….. As the NFL turns. Football used to be so much better simply because I didn’t know so much about the people playing it. More of the X and O stories and less of these please.
    As far as Boykin goes, I hear that is very athletic and has a great vertical. I think too much stock is put into a CB’s height. A smaller more athletic CB with a great vertical will be quicker on his feet while trying to cover routes. Word is that the Steelers tried to trade for him on draft day. I just want a guy who actually turns to look for the ball at this point.

  9. Let’s face it. Some of these athletes behave like spoiled brats. It’s probably no coincidence Kelly is getting rid of them. I probably would to. It will be interesting to see how much playing time Boykin and McCoy get this year and how they perform. Chances are they will show with their performance why Kelly got rid of them.

    I’m not a Kelly fan, or an Eagles fan. However, to always play the race card when you get your feelings hurt is ridiculous…and it’s childish. It perhaps shows more about the kind of person the accuser is. Given the two people that have been outspoken against Kelly that says a mouthful.

    Most players probably want to win. However, some players are persistent malcontents (McCoy). They whine when they don’t get the ball enough, even though the team wins. They whine when they lose. They are always whining about something. Gee, and you wonder why they got rid of you.

  10. What he is doing is no different than what Bill Belichick does. It took Bellichick a few years and being fired by the Browns before he had success. If Philly can stand by and support him, and he gets a decent QB, he will be just as successful as Bellichick.

  11. Kelly only cares about football. His mind is on football. He doesnt care about off the field. He wants you to follow his system to the letter, do what he needs you to do. He doesnt want to be best friends, he wants to be the boss. This is pure business to him.

  12. People comparing him to Belichick are embarrassing themselves. At no time during his career has any of this players said he can’t connect with them, no matter where they come from. Connecting with the people you work with to get the job done has nothing to do with all these social commentaries being put forth here by the uncomfortable white people who hate whenever race is brought up. If you’ve ever had a job, which is debatable here sometimes, you got this past the racial angle being pushed by McCoy and Steven A. Smith. Evan Mathis had the same problem. This sounds more like Brad Childress than Bill Belichick, and we all know how that ended.

  13. Young professional athletes can be real enigma’s : special enough to have a ton of confidence and yet still young and fragile. These are probably the exact type of person an eccentric neurotic type like Kelly is going to have a huge problem relating to, even if they are Lilly white grown up on New Hampshire. I bet a lot of this can be remedied with strong veteran leadership in the locker room, the more time around Kelly the better. There isn’t too much of that for a coach only entering his third year. Hopefully Jenkins, Cox, Peters, Kelce, Celek and the like can start to step up. If so, I bet this is addressed.

  14. I think we get the picture. Chip would trade his mom if she didn’t quite fit his offense and he could get a decent draft pick out of it.

    Chip is not that coach who hangs with his players and becomes pals. Players are like property to him that he most be willing to cut, when the right deal comes along.

    Will this approach be effective in the NFL? Perhaps, if they feel he values them and shows them respect for their individuality.

    But if they begin to not trust Chip, it’s going to unravel quickly.

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