The August lull. Every year, these few weeks in August present a difficult situation for sports fans. The previous NBA season is a distant memory, while the upcoming one is still very out of reach. Baseball is in full effect, but very few will be at the end of their seats for every single game in August. The Stanley Cup is more of a memory than a conversation starter, and soccer fans are forced to wait for the EPL season to kickstart their engines.
All that we have is the anticipation of another great football season. We love the circus that is the NFL. It has everything from cheerleaders to loud music to acrobatic mascots to gambling to vicious hits and tackles that would be felonious off the field. We all have different reasons as to why we look forward to the NFL season. And what keeps us sane in August is knowing that weekends filled with football, friends, and food are just around the corner.
The one person not looking forward to this year’s season, however, is Mr. Riley Cooper. Another white person was recorded using an extremely derogatory remark and it’s really gotten to the point where we as a a society don’t know what more to do other than a collective shoulder shrug.
I mean, have you seen the video? The people Cooper is around don’t react to what he said. They probably don’t even realize the magnitude of saying such a thing, with that sort of tone in 2013. Not only did we learn something about Cooper’s character, but also about how wild Kenny Chesney concerts can get.
In case you’re not familiar with what happened, here’s a quick recap: Philadelphia Eagles receiver Riley Cooper thought he was going to have a good time at a Kenny Chesney concert, when he got into a verbal scuffle with an African American security guard. Cooper then threatened to jump a security fence and promised to ‘”fight every n——- here, bro.”
Since then, some of his Eagles teammates have accepted his apology, while others have made it clear that they do not want to fight in the trenches next to someone like Cooper. The team’s management is penalizing Cooper privately and the league as a whole decided not to take any sort of action.
I’m not so sure that the league did need to take any action, but the lack of consistency in how our society deals with such incidents continues to bug me. Paula Dean used a racial slur and lost much of her empire. The celebrity chef lost an estimated $7.5 million in endorsements, and another $5 million from cancelled television and restaurant deals in the wake of her admission in a deposition that she used the N-word.
Her story stayed in our minds for a few weeks, but we moved on. Just like we always do.
Dean admitted to using the word years and years ago. She wasn’t caught on tape saying it to a black person in a demeaning and threatening manner. Cooper, however, was.
In Cooper’s case, we’re all upset about what happened and what he said, but a few weeks from now, when the season kicks off, Cooper’s story will get pushed aside. The average fan will forget about his comments and this racially-charged moment, one that we would hope would catalyze some sort of change, will be nothing more than a remember when start to a conversation.
What Cooper said won’t just hurt his own team’s chemistry, but it’ll change the emotions of every play that he’s on the field. In a league where over 67 percent of the players are African American, team defenses will have bounties on Cooper’s head. That’s not just on Cooper, but the entire Philadelphia team to have to deal with more enraged defenses.
Regardless of whether or not I think Riley Cooper should lose his job, I would ask everyone who’s screaming that he shouldn’t to stop and realize that most of us would lose our jobs for saying or acting anything like that. No one would be on social media or TV defending you or calling your their friend and teammate.
Cooper did apologize. He understands he made a mistake. Whether he’s truly sorry, or is just sorry that it was caught on tape is a different discussion by itself. The fact of the matter is that we’ll never know. His public apology seemed sincere, and it looks as if the Eagles are trying to move past this little disaster.
Wait … scratch everything from the last paragraph. This incident happened in June. The story broke on August 1. Cooper had plenty of opportunities to get ahead of the story. Hence the real problem - Racism is only racism in what we like to refer to as post-racial America when it’s captured on video and can be proven to be unedited.
Maybe we’ll just have to get used to Urban Meyer’s Florida Gator products. At least Cooper didn’t murder anyone, right?