How We Must Re-Examine Today’s Pro Athletes By: (@BWMahoney213)
The recent uproar over a racial slur uttered by Philadelphia Eagles’ WR Riley Cooper may be the tipping point of how unpolished NFL players—or athletes in general— have become when off field.
Since Super Bowl 47, there have been 33 arrests made of NFL players. That’s 33 arrests in a span of 5 months. One of which stirred national attention when New England Patriots’ TE Aaron Hernandez was arrested on 5 counts of possession of weapons and the murder of Odin Lloyd. Nothing stood out so far into the national media (and left a black-eye to the NFL’s image) since the murder trial of O.J. Simpson back in 1995.
Riley Cooper entered Eagles’ training camp with an opportune chance to cement a starting spot for the Eagles as their bright wide receiver Jeremy Maclin tore his ACL last week. Cooper’s chances quickly dropped after a video of him (possibly intoxicated) at a Kenny Chesney concert saying “I will jump that bitch and f— every n— here.”
Cooper doesn’t fit into the 33 NFL players arrested/convicted, but the general focus of it as a crime has truly been a touching point by the league and culture of the fan-base. Media overkill? Possibly (try finding other big news stories in sports in late July).
But being 2013, there are zero excuses to Cooper’s abrasive statement. He knew that a recording device was focused on him and he’s knowledgeable enough to know anything can be sent through the virtual world of the internet and spread like wild-fire. That’s the culture of society. He will face some consequence and the Eagles are handling it in the best way possible. It truly shows an improvement of the character awareness by the Philadelphia Eagles as a franchise and as a reflection to the league, in such tumultuous times.
There’s a divide by fans with allegiance to the Eagles as a group striving for the best chance to win with a potential talent like Cooper and a as a group willing to cut ties with someone who has created locker-room tension and classless sportsmanship.
Cooper may or may not be a sacrificial goat in this whole circumstance. It’d be bold and definitive from the Eagles (in a business standpoint) to uphold a higher standard of character and morality in evaluating players in future drafts. It might spur other teams (in the NFL or other professional sports) to keep a sharper eye in re-examining the backgrounds of players rather than their star potential.
In a greater perspective (I may be getting ahead of myself)—what will happen when or if an NFL player openly comes out to being homosexual, and teammates or coaches are caught in the crosshairs of a sexual orientation slur, if it slips?
Is it how some people are fed by expression in the media when we see NHL players hoisting the Stanley Cup in an ecstasy screaming “F*ck yeah!” while a national broadcast is zoomed in on their reactions?
Players can be glorified as those indestructible Olympians glossed on the Gatorade bottles, but the news and society as a whole work hand in hand at tearing down these ‘heroes’ when any vice is out in the open. And sometimes, we all have to slow down and just accept that they are humans like the rest of us with plenty of day to day problems like paying for children (some with too many), or going bankrupt (Warren Sapp), or dealing with drug and marriage issues.
Riley Cooper said the wrong word, but he’s right for his remorse.