WR Riley Cooper drops racial slur at concert

By Adam Silverstein
July 31, 2013

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, expected to play an integral role for his team this season after teammate Jeremy Maclin went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament early in training camp, was caught on camera recently dropping the a racial slur (the N-word) at a Kenny Chesney concert.

WARNING: Explicit and disgusting language.

Deadspin.com first posted the video Tuesday afternoon, and Cooper was quick to address his racist remark head-on.

“I am so ashamed and disgusted with myself,” he said in a statement. “I want to apologize. I have been offensive. I have apologized to my coach, Jeffrey Lurie, and Howie Roseman, and to my teammates. I owe an apology to the fans and to this community. I am so ashamed, but there are no excuses. What I did was wrong and I will accept the consequences.”

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie subsequently released a statement of his own: “We are shocked and appalled by Riley Cooper’s words. This sort of behavior or attitude from anyone has no role in a civil society. He has accepted responsibility for his words and his actions. He has been fined for this incident.“

The NFL league office soon followed suit: “The NFL stands for diversity and inclusion. Comments like this are wrong, offensive, and unacceptable.”

The fine assessed to Cooper appears to have been substantial as he told the media it was for a “good amount of money…but that’s really not important. The situation should not have [gone down] the way I dealt with it.”

Cooper explained that he was drunk during the concert and made the remark at an African-American security guard after an altercation, though he noted that being under the influence of alcohol was “no excuse for what I said and what I did.” He also said the N-word is not a term he normally uses and that he had never uttered it before.

“I’m extremely embarrassed, I’m extremely hurt and extremely sorry for my actions,” he said. Cooper added that he explained the entire situation to his team’s ownership, management and coaching staff and is “willing to accept any consequences.”

“This is kind of the lowest of the lows. This isn’t the type of person I want to be portrayed as. This is’t the type of person I am. I’m just extremely sorry,” Cooper said.

He also said that he hopes to address his actions with his teammates. “I’m going to tell them exactly what I’m telling you [the media] – how extremely sorry I am. I should have never said what I said. Most of the ones that know me, which excludes the rookies coming in, they know what type of person I am.”

He continued: “I don’t use that term. I was raised way better than that. I got a great mom and dad at home, and they are disgusted in my actions.”

UPDATED – 9 p.m.: After Cooper held a meeting with his teammates, a number of them spoke to the media about the situation and expressed their personal opinions. The below quotes are courtesy of USA Today.

Quarterback Michael Vick: “Riley is still my teammate. And he just stood in front of us as a man and apologized for what he said. And somewhere deep down, you have to find some level of respect for that. Riley wished he never said it. […] We understand the magnitude of this situation, we understand a lot of people may be hurt and offended. But I know Riley Cooper. I’ve been with him for three years and I know what type of person he is. That’s what makes it easy, at the same time hard to understand the situation. I forgave him.”

Safety Kurt Coleman: “I’m a man of mixed culture, I’m bi-racial, so I understand everything. Do I feel the comment was insensitive? Yeah. And he knows that. I’ve been called a lot of things. But I think Riley is a good man. I really do. I have his back. It’s going to build a lot of character in him. It’s a tough situation, but we’ve got to move together as a team.”

Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox: “I still look at him as one of my brothers. He stood up like a man and we all applauded that he stood up like a man to apologize in front of everybody. Everybody makes mistakes.”


  1. Zulueta says:

    Wow R Cooper.

  2. Tractorr says:

    How could you play a sport where you are on a team with black people and still use that kind of language?

    • PGreek says:

      Actually, probably easier than you think when those on the team use that word toward each other pretty often, if it is like any teams I’ve played on.

      • Tractorr says:

        I buy that even less. I remember white guys crossing that line on my high school team and the black guys letting them know that is not okay. Not only that but the way that Cooper is using the word in this video is not the way that friends use it with each other.

  3. Joe says:

    Uh huh, have fun going back to work Riley. You deserve whatever heat comes your way.

  4. joe says:

    The UAA has already removed his brick

  5. Ziggy says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t use the N word and don’t condone it. But what happens when someone like Terrell Owens says something about a white cracker or honkey. Talk about a double standard. Come on society, grow up a little.

    • NYC Gator says:

      It’s not a double standard, the word he used is FAR more hurtful and offensive and hearkens to our painful history of slavery and discrimination towards people of color. That doesn’t excuse whatever T.O. may have said but it’s not in the same ballpark.

      That being said, if you watched his press conference Riley really does seem sincere in his apology and hopefully people will forgive him down the line.

      • Michael Jones says:

        No, actually, NYC, that’s EXACTLY what a double standard is: a special set of rules carved out for one race or class that gives it preferential treatment over other races or classes. A racial slur is a racial slur. Why one racial slur deserves it’s own initial like somehow that racial slur is more hurtful than others is unfathomable to me. There is no one alive today who either (1) was a slave, (2) owned a slave, or (3) fought to free slaves, so quit making excuses for why this country has gone from one extreme–racism, which is an outrage–to the other extreme–political correctness, which is just as much of a lie as racism.

        I have lots of black friends, white friends, Hispanic friends. All kinds of friends. I don’t even know anyone who is a racist and yet the media fans those flames like racism is still everywhere and running rampant today. Running rampant where? But the tension that does still happen to exist today comes from people who take your position and argue for some kind of special entitlement. “Special entitlement” is racism–whether it’s for blacks, whites, whoever. Everyone and every racial slur should be treated the same. Enough already of the double standard.

        • Mr2Bits says:

          Completely agree. Our nation is racially charged right now because of the Zimmerman case and the media is intent on trying to set our country back 50 years by fueling these race fires. Their selective reporting of white on black hate is becoming egregious. As we all know, if someone said a white slur, it wouldn’t make it past the water cooler! I have friends of all races and thankfully we can all agree that ESPN and other media outlets leading with this story, fining him and other racially driven political groups demanding he be suspended is asinine!

          • Ken (CA) says:

            the nation isn’t racially charged today because of the Zimmerman case, it is racially charged because of the media’s agenda to portray it as a racial case hand in hand with Obama’s policy of divide and conquer, marginalize.

            The thing that disgusts me the most is when they talk about “reverse-racism”. THERE IS NO SUCH THING! This implies that only Caucasians can be “actual” racists. Racism is racism, pure and simple, and it is far less prevalent in current society than the race-baiters like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would like you to believe as they make their millions off of the blood of minority tensions.

            There are just too many examples of where racism is most existent in the U.S. and who the majority of the people are that act based on color of the skin, and it isn’t in the Caucasian population.

            If only his own people would heed his words, MLKJr “Judge people not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”

            • Tractorr says:

              Come on now it is just as easy to say that it is Tea Party/right wing who are are driving the race debate by instituting policies that disproportionately affect minorities. This is an endless chicken and the egg debate.

        • Tractorr says:

          What difference does it make if someone was involved with slavery? There has still been racism since slavery. We needed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and there are still plenty of people who remember the time before that.

        • NYC Gator says:

          Oh you have lots of black friends? That makes all the difference! And if you can’t understand the simple truth that some words are simply more offensive than others, then I really don’t know what to tell you other than you’re a bit delusional. And just because you personally haven’t experience racism in your little utopia, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It’s simply not a double standard and no one is asking for preferential treatment.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Even the term “people of color” is offensive. It implies that all the whites are on one side, and everyone who isn’t white–regardless of whether they have anything else in common–is on the other side and on the same team just because they’re not white. It’s a divisive term that I find offensive. Besides that, we’re all “people of color.” I don’t know anyone who is solid white or solid black. We’re all some shade in between.

    • Tractorr says:

      And in all fairness that double standard is quickly disappearing in the professional world. If a black player came out today and used those kinds of terms they would be in hot water.

  6. Michael Jones says:

    Riley Cooper made a mistake. I’m not a mind reader, and neither are any of you, but I saw his apology and it seemed pretty sincere.

    Now, every single white, black, Hispanic, or Asian person, as well as people of other ethnic backgrounds or races, who has never in his or her entire life EVER uttered a racial slur, or a slur against gay people, or made fun of a person for being fat, or short, or ugly, or skinny, or mentally challenged, or physically disabled, should pick up a rock and throw it at him. Everybody else should probably accept his apology and just be glad that no one had a cellphone around to record their worst moment when they uttered theirs.

  7. B says:

    How in the world can you fine someone for saying a word that you don’t like? Especially when it wasnt something he said adressing the public. he was filmed probably without his knowledge or consent. What happened to freedom of speech?
    Regardless of how you feel about the word he used

    • NYC Gator says:

      The First Amendment protects you from the Government infringing on your right to free speech, the Philadelphia Eagles can fine whoever they want. There was no way in hell they were going to let this slide. And in this day and age, anything you say in public could end up on Youtube, especially when you’re a pro athlete.

  8. Mr2Bits says:

    de fintinely a bad decision but I really pray national tv doesn’t have the ability to mic up football players during games. If so, the NFL network will have to be moved to HBO/Showtime with the language that these players exchange during games!

  9. Keith says:

    The only thing Cooper is apologetic and disgusted about is him being caught and now the world knows about his little secret. Trust and believe the majority of his black team mates will not forgive him. And yes he will be a target for many illegal hits this year.

  10. Courtney says:

    Well if you’re white dont get caught saying the N word publicly, if you are black don’t get c aught looking suspicious, driving a nice car( automatically a dealer), dwb period….the list goes on.
    Yes there are many double standards. So no one need to defend riley or anyone else white for saying N…..its not okay. Neither is it okay for saying racial slurs about any race If you are not that race, i am black btw.

    • Tractorr says:

      I would offer one small caveat that the N***A is not a racial slur. First the different pronunciation and spelling are signals that it is a different word used in a different context. Second even if it were the same word some words are offensive in one context and not another. The word damn could mean a barrier that holds water and when used after the word god is very offensive to some people.

      What I can’t figure out is that people act like it is hard not to use offensive language. I have no problem not using offensive language. I don’t feel stifled in my choices for words by political correctness. Seems to me that if you have a hard time not offending people with your word choices, you might be saying offensive things.

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