Riley Cooper’s apology for using the “N” word after a confrontation with an African-American security guard at a Kenny Chesney concert in June came fast and you’ll have to watch for yourself and decide if it was sincere:
(video courtesy of USA Today Sports)
Now that he’s apologized (it was more than six minutes long), been fined an undisclosed amount by the team, and even received forgiveness from his quarterback, Michael Vick, how does he, his team and NFL fans move forward?
The NFL has yet to move on any sort of disciplinary action, and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wouldn’t speak on it, except to say:
“The NFL stands for diversity and inclusion. Comments like this are wrong, offensive, and unacceptable.”
Even with the fine and the apology and forgiveness, there may still be more hell to pay. Piper is a wide-receiver and unforgiving defensive players in the league may have him as a target. Football is an exciting, but also dangerous sport and his comments may have made him a marked man. Still, Cooper says he’s hasn’t thought about that but about getting forgiveness from his teammates:
“Most of the ones that know me, they know what kind of person I am,” he said.
As fans gear up for the NFL seaso , it will be interesting to see how the team comes together to get past this incident. The team needs focus not foolishness going into training camp and Vick’s acceptance of his apology may be the first step. Fans will surely follow, albeit more slow with memories like elephants.
It’s not that fans and African-American teammates won’t forgive Cooper; It’s that this incident further underscores the racism that is so pervasive in our society. Instead of fines and sensitivity training, perhaps a better use of time would be to address it head on. If Cooper truly feels like this, it is better to deal with that and talk to him about his ideas and judgments about other races.
We all need to be willing to accept that racism is alive and well. It doesn’t matter if black people say the word, it is unacceptable for Caucasians to use it. Period. It doesn’t have to make sense. There is a cultural “right” that groups have that don’t entitle other groups to those same rights. In the same sense that Eagles players can talk nasty about their game, other rival teams wouldn’t be extended those same rights.
Until we are willing to admit racism exists and deal with it head on, we’ll always be reactive rather than proactive.
In the meantime, let’s forgive and try to heal.
Your Jersey Girlfriend,