Looking Beyond Riley Cooper

Philadelphia Eagles Wallpaper

If you follow sports you’ve heard what Riley Cooper said. The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver used the word n****r (referred to as that word after this) in a confrontation with a black security officer at a concert in June. Every media outlet in the country is throwing the yellow penalty flag.

The Philadelphia Eagles said Riley Cooper was way out of line. Riley Cooper held a press conference apologizing for using that word, saying he was extremely disgusted with himself and he shouldn’t have said it. He said his family is disappointed in him and he is disappointed with himself.

“Obviously we stand for diversity and inclusion. Comments like that, they are obviously wrong, they are offensive and they are unacceptable.” — Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday on the “Mike and Mike” program on ESPN Radio.

They are right. He should not have used that word. Headline news has documented Riley Cooper’s apology to the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, the coaches, his teammates, and to everyone. The Eagles fined him, are requiring him to go to counseling, and as of Friday morning excused him from team activities for all of August. I agree with that.

What I Disagree With

Here is where I disagree with many of Riley Cooper’s teammates, the Eagles organization, and the media. I’ve witnessed a black person call another black person that word. Neither person batted an eye. I’ve heard that word used by comedians, in music, and in movies. Why is it acceptable for blacks to use that word with one another? It is wrong! I’ve watched three days of media coverage — only one athlete has admitted publically that he is guilty of using that word. That athlete is Hall of Famer Michael Irvin. In an interview on NFL Network, Michael Irvin said he has mixed emotions about Riley Cooper. Watching the video upset him. He believes that Riley Cooper’s apology is sincere. Then he admits that he has used that word when he shouldn’t. Michael Irvin ends the interview by saying “maybe we need to examine that.” He’s right, we do.

Double standards shouldn’t decide who can and can’t use that word. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong–for everyone. No one should use racist language with anyone. As a citizen of this planet, we need to respect our fellow humans no matter what race they are. Only through demonstrating respect can we expect respect to spread and become the norm. There is a scene in the movie Coach Carter that speaks volumes. The basketball team is on the bleachers reading a sports column about their team and one specific player. A black player. Coach Carter enters the gym as the players are reading. When the players finish reading the article the black players congratulate the player mentioned in the article using that word. None of the players questioned it. They were happy.

“N****r is a derogatory term used to insult our ancestors. See, if a white man used it, you’d be ready to fight. Your using it teaches him to use it. You’re saying it’s cool. Well it’s not cool! And when you’re around me I don’t wanna hear that shit. We clear?” — Coach Carter from the movie Coach Carter.

Well said Coach Carter. Society has reached a time when no one in any conversation or confrontation should use that word or others like it. Books, music, comedians, TV, and movies must stop setting bad examples.

I have a question for all the black players (both current and former) who said they can’t forgive Riley Cooper or trust him and can’t or couldn’t play with him. Have they used that word with another black player? We all must search our hearts and acknowledge it’s time for that word and others like it to become extinct! It’s time to take responsibility and improve our world. Stand up and say, “no more!” Do you agree?

Philadelphia Eagles Wallpaper
photo credit: Axel.Foley PHILADELPHIA Eagles Wallpaper via flicker (license)

Author: Jillian Pearl

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. As an adult, I moved to Denver, Colorado and continue to live there with my family. Over the years, I've had a variety of jobs, including lifeguard, OTR truck driver, and mechanical drafter. Currently, I am a caregiver for my mom, a blogger, and a contemporary romance author.

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