Shutdown Corner

LeSean McCoy says he lost a friend in Riley Cooper: ‘can’t really respect somebody like that’

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

For the most part, the public reaction of the Philadelphia Eagles' players has been calm professionalism towards Riley Cooper. Michael Vick defended him. So did Jason Avant.

LeSean McCoy had a different feeling about Cooper, and expressed it.

Cooper was caught on video using a racial slur. He apologized for it. McCoy, the Eagles' star running back, didn't sound ready to accept that apology.

It's not surprising to hear that some players have some strong feelings towards Cooper. It will be interesting to see if any follow McCoy's lead and voice it publicly.

Here's more from McCoy, via CSNPhilly.com's Geoff Mosher:

“Ain’t nothing to prove. He said how he felt,” McCoy said, according to CSNPhilly.com. “He’s still a teammate. I’m still going to block for him. I’m still gonna show great effort. Just on a friendship level, and as a person, I can’t really respect somebody like that. I think as a team, we need to move past it. There are some things that are going to be hard to work with, to be honest.

"You don’t just say something like that and then it’s just normal. It’s hard for a lot of players like myself, because I’m good friends with him.

“And then we’ve been playing for three years, and something like this comes out, I think where a person thinks that the cameras are off and nobody is really watching, you let your true side come out, and I think that’s what happened. I think it’s a matter of him actually getting caught."

McCoy also told reporters he forgives Cooper because he's a teammate, "but some things [don’t] fit well with myself and other teammates at all." Notice that McCoy said he's not the only Eagles player feeling this way.

The NFL is a business, and players don't necessarily need to get along to play well. But this is more extreme than most cases. McCoy expressed his opinion on Cooper, and said other Eagles share it. It's quite a mess for first-time NFL head coach Chip Kelly to have to deal with. The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted a few anonymous Eagles players who were critical of Kelly's handling of the situation ("(I)f it was Andy Reid, he would have gotten more than a fine," one told the Inquirer) and more negative feelings towards Cooper (“If he’s on the team, he’s on the team,” an anonymous player told the Inquirer. “Don’t mean I have to like him.”).

The comments coming out of the Eagles locker room show that, even though some teammates publicly supported Cooper, his acceptance in the Eagles locker room isn't unanimous.

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