Are the Eagles making the right move by letting Riley Cooper return to practice?
About a week after a video was released showing Eagles WR Riley Cooper saying a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert, Cooper is returning to practice. He was granted an excused absence after the video surfaced and he has made a public apology, but some people believe that his words were offensive enough that there's really no reason to allow him to come back to the team at all.
In a league dominated by African-American players, it's not a stretch to believe that it could be a rather awkward locker room if the Eagles hold on to Cooper after this incident. While he claims that he's not a racist, there's many who believe that only a racist person would ever use the infamous 'N-word' in the context that Cooper used it.
Former NFL coach Tony Dungy, who is an African-American, said on today's Dan Patrick Show that the issue isn't as much about racism as it is about alcohol abuse. Dungy believes that Cooper never would have said something like that if he were sober, which might be true. He also believes that Cooper was far more intoxicated than he should have been at that concert, which is almost certainly true.
Still, it seems like the only reason someone would turn to a racial slur at that point would be if, at the very least, they have at least some racism simmering inside them. Whether it's just a slight case of envy due to the fact that a vast majority of star WRs in the NFL are black, or even full-blown hatred, it appears that there is some sort of resentment from Cooper towards black people.
That could definitely cause his teammates to lose some trust in Cooper, could result in him being targeted by opponents, and it could cause locker room issues. Also, Cooper just isn't that great of a player. The Eagles' need for him increased when they lost Jeremy Maclin to injury, but they still don't need him that much. At this point, is he worth the trouble?