Bigotry or stupidity? What to do with Riley Cooper?

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

Matt's Take:

Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Riley Cooper needs to extend a hand and ear to Paula Deen.

So, what do Cooper and Deen have in common? A lack of common sense? No mouth filter? Stupidity? Bigotry? Racism?

Let's just say it's a combination of all of these traits.

The former Florida Gator is catching heat — instead of footballs — after being caught on video telling a companion "I'll fight every (expletive) here, bro," referring to an African American bouncer, while attending a Kenny Chesney concert. Mind you, Cooper is white.

Instead of taking part in training camp with his teammates, the Eagles brass has banished Cooper from the team's facility while he undergoes counseling. The team also fined him an undisclosed amount of money for his racially insensitive comments.

But does the punishment fit the crime? Have the Eagles, and the NFL for that matter, taken enough action?

I say yes.

By no means do I condone what Cooper said, and I am appalled that he said it, but he will have to face his stupidity for as long as he remains in the public eye. Everywhere he goes questions will follow.

While the public shaming is probably unbearable, Cooper has more than likely lost the respect of every player in the Eagles’ locker room. The majority of the players on the Eagles' roster are African American, so imagine what that must be like.

Sure, he didn't lose a TV show or dozens of endorsements like Deen did, but Cooper is definitely not getting away without punishment.

He has alienated himself from his "family."

The NFL cannot control everything. So, let's leave this one for Cooper's conscious to punish, not Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Andrew’s take:

It’s been a rough summer for former Florida Gators.

I mean, Riley Cooper didn’t kill anyone, but he definitely dropped a very malicious N-bomb.

Watch the video. It’s about 10 seconds long. Cooper clearly says, “I will jump that fence and fight every (expletive) here, bro.”

When denied backstage access at a Kenny Chesney concert, by a black bouncer, a bystander was quick enough to catch some video of Cooper’s reaction.

But that’s just context.

The simple fact is that Cooper said that one, most-offensive word. And to make things worse, it was in a vicious fashion.

No one is going to defend Cooper, which is good. But don’t waste my time by debating whether or not the National Football League (NFL) should hand down a punishment. I know he didn’t break any laws, but that doesn’t matter.

The NFL is an unincorporated, nonprofit association. The organization has the ability to prohibit any player, as long as the decision is not prejudiced.

Like I said, there’s no confusing Cooper’s words. Why would Robert Goodell not take firm, immediate action?

I’m not going to compare wrongdoings of Cooper and Terrell Pryor, but I can tell you, without hesitation, which player is worse for the face of the League.

Yes, what Pryor did was stupid. He got free cars while playing at Ohio State. And he started his professional career with a five-game suspension.

Cooper has received no suspension from the NFL; he has only been excused from the Philadelphia Eagles, mostly because of all the death threats. The team does not want to endanger the other players.

If Goodell lets Cooper come anywhere near the NFL this season, the public should demand the commissioner’s job.

It’s 2013. It’s time to stop saying that people like Cooper shouldn’t speak that way, and demand that they change their thinking.