Chip Kelly: No regrets keeping Riley Cooper despite racism accusations
Chip Kelly already is embroiled in an ongoing controversy related to issues of race, something that has been plaguing the Philadelphia Eagles head coach for several months. The issue of race again became a topic of discussion on Tuesday when Kelly was put in a precarious position when asked if he regretted keeping Riley Cooper on the team two years ago, specifically in light of the recent accusations regarding his allegedly strained relationship with black players.
“I think he regrets what he did that day every single day,” Kelly said of Cooper, via NJ Advanced Media’s Eliot Schor-Parks. “I see that in him. But do I regret what I did in terms of how I handled that? No I don’t.”
Footage was obtained of Cooper at a Kenny Chesney concert in July 2013 in which he shouts a racial slur during a verbal altercation with an African-American security guard. Kelly insists that it wasn’t only him that hoped to keep Cooper on the team.
“I think Riley made a mistake. We all backed him. Michal (Vick) did, Jason (Avant) did. That’s part of being a team and an organization,” Kelly said. “I look at that as a specific incident and he was 100% wrong. Those are things that should never be said and I hope he learned his lesson.”
This entire discussion about Cooper of course is playing out amid the backdrop of allegations made by former Eagles offensive line coach Tra Thomas, former running back LeSean McCoy, and most recently, former cornerback Brandon Boykin made insinuations or outright accusations about Kelly. McCoy, now with the Buffalo Bills, opined after his departure from the Eagles that Kelly “got rid of all the black players.”
Kelly was asked if his decision to keep Cooper in the fold may have been the beginnings of the belief that he has trouble relating to the “culture” of the players on the team, as Boykin suggested.
“There could be,” Kelly said. “But don’t spend a lot of time trying to connect X to Y to Z.”
(image via philly.com)