Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper was fined Thursday for his racially insensitive comment made at a Kenny Chesney concert, and he will seek outside assistance for help. But his real challenge will be dealing with his teammates and his regret.
"I didn't sleep or eat last night," Cooper said Thursday after practice. "I came in underweight and the whole nine yards. It was the toughest night I've had. It was tough, it was tough."
Part of Cooper's concern: Teammates who will treat him differently. LeSean McCoy told NFL.com's Albert Breer that he could no longer respect Cooper. The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that there are "many Eagles" who are having a difficult time accepting Cooper's apology. But those players haven't communicated the feelings directly to Cooper.
"I respect a lot of the guys that came up to me yesterday and today -- numerous, numerous, numerous players and said 'Coop, we know that's not the type of person you are. You know, We respect you and we're behind you,' " Cooper relayed, noting that it could take a "little while" for the team to move on past it.
Coach Chip Kelly echoed those sentiments, saying it will "take time" for the team to get over the issue. Kelly admitted he's worried that the topic could divide the team.
"There could be a concern, yeah, there is a concern," Kelly said. "Obviously it's a very hot topic. That's why I encourage our group ... and our team and I talked about it last night at the team meeting ... we've gotta have some open communication to make sure that everyone understands what went on and what Riley did to atone for it."
"The coaches are saying we should think team first, but this is just crazy," an anonymous player told Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Was he thinking about the team when he said that?"UPDATE: The Eagles announced Friday that they've excused Cooper from all team activities. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports the plan is to keep Cooper on the active roster for an excused absence.