Eagles players, fans react to Riley Cooper slur and apology

PHILADELPHIA - July 31, 2013

"I never dealt with anything like this in my years in the National Football League," said fellow Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant.

Avant says he was hurt by Riley Cooper's racial slur, but able to forgive.

"I can take it for face value and say, 'Oh, that's the person.' Or I can judge the man's character from the four years I've known him and the way he's treated people around our building," he said.

Avant and other teammates say Cooper addressed the team, and his apology was heartfelt.

"Anyone who knows him knows he's not a racist person," said Eagles center Jason Kelce. "So it's very easy for guys to be forgiving to him."

Quarterback Michael Vick echoed that sentiment, saying "Riley is my friend, and our relationship has always been about mutual respect. He looked me in the eyes and apologized to me and my teammates. I believe in forgiveness and I believe in him."

But apparently it's not a family feeling.

Vick's brother, Marcus, tweeted, "Hey I'm putting a bounty on Riley's head. 1K to the first Free Safety or Strong safety that lights his blank up! Wake him up please..."

Number 7 responded by telling reporters, "I don't agree with what my brother said. Marcus has to not show a level of ignorance himself."


The video of Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper's racial slur was enough to make fans cringe.

"Well, it doesn't look like he was saying it in a nice way," said Amanda Tu of Bensalem. "He looked angry when he was saying it, like he meant what he said."

At Chickie's and Pete's in Northeast Philadelphia, there was disappointment.

"He's a role model, and he should act like one in public," said Dave Nielsen of Northeast Philadelphia. "But everyone makes mistakes, and we're all human."

"I'm really surprised that he used that comment," said Jimmy Garcia of Northeast Philadelphia. "It really upsets me."

On the streets of Center City Philadelphia, there was even more head shaking from those who have been Eagles fans for decades.

"I think that a lot of young people today just take it as something you can say," said Marla Nesbitt-Laws. "But these are serious terms, and I would love to see people stop using that type of language."

"He SHOULD have been fined," said Ray Kuehner of Dayton, N.J. "You know, he's got to start thinking a little bit more of exactly what he's representing. He's just not representing himself, he's representing the organization."

Kuehner says after watching the video he doesn't believe Cooper is a racist or that his actions will get him kicked off the team.

"I think the Eagles are going to deal with it and take care of it and address it," he said. "So hopefully it doesn't happen in the future, and the players think more about what they're saying when they're out in public."

The reaction was just as swift on social media. #RileyCooper lit up Twitter.

Sean tweeted, "Give Riley Cooper a break...just think of everything he's gonna have to go through at practice...especially with his black teammates."

Mike said he "was angered by Cooper's racist words...left to wonder if his apology is genuine...certain things transcend fan loyalties."


Even country singer Kenny Chesney, whose concert Cooper was attending when the incident happened, commented on the situation.

He had this to say Wednesday night on our sister network, ESPN:

"To judge an entire audience by one loud-mouth isn't fair. What someone else does or says doesn't reflect who I am or what my fans stand for."

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