Philadelphia Eagles  

 

Eagles players discuss Riley Cooper's comment in house

To those around Riley Cooper, the idea that he's racist is foreign.

But how the entire scenario that played out on June 8 -- Cooper out having a good time, and that good time going off the rails -- was hardly shocking.

Center Jason Kelce told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday that, "Riley was my friend before the fact and he's still my friend and teammate going forward. Anybody that really knows him knows he's not a racist ... but sometimes he can get a little bit out of control. We were both pretty intoxicated on the day." And that's the way people who knew him going back to his Florida days knew Cooper, whose good times would get out of hand from time to time.

That, on its own, is hardly unusual, but it might provide some context to the events leading up to the Kenny Chesney concert where an altercation led to the racially insensitive comment from Cooper. In fact, near the end of Cooper's time at Florida he roomed with quarterback Tim Tebow, something that Gator officials felt would help keep the receiver in line and focused on football.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly called a meeting Friday morning to address the situation with the team, a summit that, according to cornerback Cary Williams, turned into an "open forum." Kelly had veterans Jeremy Maclin, Jon Dorenbos, DeMeco Ryans and Jason Avant address the team, and allowed others to share their thoughts.

"Right now, we're in transition, everyone's trying to find a way to cope," Williams said. "He wasn't here today, he's getting treatment. I think the forum would've worked if he was there, if we were able to express ourselves, with him being there. It was good to hear people say positive things, but he needs to hear the negative as well, so he can understand the magnitude of what he said."

LeSean McCoy said on Thursday, "I'm definitely upset, more because I'm losing a friend like that. Losing a friend over something like that, I mean, I guess the real him came out that day."

And it was just as clear on Friday that if Cooper returns to the team -- which Kelly says is the plan -- McCoy's not the only one he'll have to mend fences with.

"We're trying not to make it a distraction, we're trying to get through it," Williams said. "But obviously the magnitude of the issues makes it a lot harder to cope with. Everyone's gonna come along at their own time. We're trying to find a way to forgive, find a way to be merciful. Everyone has their own perspective. We're having a tough time. We're at a crossroads."

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer.

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