Michael Vick was upset that Riley Cooper didn’t text him back

Riley-Cooper-EaglesMichael Vick called supporting Riley Cooper “the best thing I have done as a professional athlete” in a recent interview with Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork.com. Vick was the first person to publicly support Cooper and accept his apology after the receiver was filmed making racist remarks at a country music concert last summer.

Vick believes that without his support, Cooper’s career may have ended. Prior to this week, he questioned whether Cooper appreciated it.

“I just hope he’s [appreciative] of my boldness to step out in front of the world and say what I said, and he appreciates what I did and understands the magnitude of it, because nobody else was going to step up and say anything,” Vick explained. “I could’ve said the same thing that 25 of my teammates were saying, and there was built-up anger.

“A couple of things transpired since [the incident] that I dislike, and I’ll be honest with you. After he signed his contract, I sent him a text and I never got a text back, and that made me feel a certain type of way. But I’m not the type of guy who holds grudges.”

Vick obviously was holding some sort of grudge, or he never would have brought up the unreturned text message. However, the veteran quarterback’s spokesman told O’Connor on Wednesday that Vick and Cooper had spoken since Vick’s interview and are “all good.”

“I changed the whole dynamic of that situation, and that was a proud moment for me,” Vick added. “I was able to save a young man’s career, and that young man went on to have the greatest year of his career and get a contract that he probably never imagined he would get.”

While we don’t know if Vick deserves all the credit for Cooper’s success last season, there were rumblings about Cooper’s career potentially being in jeopardy. An endorsement from a black teammate certainly helped ease the tension on some level.

H/T Deadspin

Richard Sherman implies Eagles cut DeSean Jackson and kept Riley Cooper because of race

DeSean JacksonOne of the arguments many people have made against the Philadelphia Eagles cutting DeSean Jackson is the team’s decision to keep Riley Cooper. After the season, the Eagles signed Cooper to a five-year, $25 million contract. Apparently his racist outburst from last summer is a thing of the past.

Jackson, on the other hand, was released shortly after a report surfaced indicating he has connections to members of a gang in Los Angeles. In a column he wrote for Monday Morning Quarterback on Wednesday, Richard Sherman defended Jackson for not alienating the people he grew up around who supported him when his father passed away in 2009. He also implied that race played a role in the Eagles’ decision to cut Jackson.

This offseason they re-signed a player who was caught on video screaming, “I will fight every n—– here.” He was representing the Philadelphia Eagles when he said it, because, of course, everything we do is reflective of the organization. But what did they do to Riley Cooper, who, if he’s not a racist, at least has “ties” to racist activity? They fined him and sent him to counseling. No suspension necessary for Cooper and no punishment from the NFL, despite its new interest in policing our use of the N-word on the field.

Commit certain crimes in this league and be a certain color, and you get help, not scorn. Look at the way many in the media wrote about Jim Irsay after his DUI arrest. Nobody suggested the Colts owner had “ties” to drug trafficking, even though he was caught driving with controlled substances (prescription pills) and $29,000 in cash to do who-knows-what with. Instead, poor millionaire Mr. Irsay needs help, some wrote.

Sherman makes some very valid points, especially regarding Irsay. The amount of cash the Colts owner had in his possession could easily be viewed as gang-related or drug dealing activity if he was somebody else.

As for Cooper, you can understand why it looks bad that the Eagles chose to send a white player to counseling after his racist tirade. The only thing I would say about that is that situations like the Aaron Hernandez murder trial have made teams increasingly paranoid when they hear the word “gang.” If a white player reportedly had ties to a gang, you would probably see the team react the same way.

I believe the risk of gang involvement currently has NFL teams on high alert, whether the claims are founded or not. That said, Sherman presented a very well-thought argument that certainly makes you think.

Michael Vick on Riley Cooper-Cary Williams fight: ‘These young dudes don’t respect me’

Riley-Cooper-Cary-Williams-fightWhen Riley Cooper and Cary Williams got into a fight at Philadelphia Eagles practice on Thursday, Michael Vick stepped in and tried to prevent the situation from escalating. As the video we posted earlier shows, Cooper walked away and looked like he wanted nothing to do with the scrum. Williams, however, seemed furious.

Cooper insisted that he and Williams had smoothed things over by the time practice ended, but Vick was not happy with his teammates.

“I try to be the peacemaker, but these young dudes don’t respect me,” he told the Philadelphia Daily News, motioning in the direction of Williams. “Our maturity level’s gotta be on a whole different plane. Regardless of who the catalyst was for the whole fight, that doesn’t matter. We’ve gotta be men. We’re not guys who are out on the street, fighting one another. We’re teammates … It’s game week. We don’t have time for that. I don’t. It’s a distraction.”

Vick was clearly upset over the fact that Williams was yelling in his face as he was trying to prevent him from going after Cooper. Despite his checkered past, Vick is the Eagles’ starting quarterback and one of the older guys on the team. He is expected to be a leader and that is exactly what he was trying to be.

DeSean Jackson, who also tried to play peacemaker, echoed Vick’s sentiment.

“You’re dealing with different personalities, different backgrounds,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, we’re all here to do a job, first and foremost.”

While it’s fun to speculate about whether the fight had to do with Cooper’s racist outburst or not, Vick has a point. Fights are going to happen, but younger players on the team should respect the veteran guys when they step in to handle the situation. That is especially true when the start of the regular season is just days away.

Riley Cooper and Cary Williams reportedly get into fight at practice

Riley-Cooper-Cary-Williams-fightPhiladelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper and cornerback Cary Williams reportedly got into a scuffle during Thursday’s practice. Fights during training camp and practice are nothing out of the ordinary, but they become newsworthy when they involve a player that has teammates who have admitted that they can no longer respect him.

According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Williams had to be “pulled away” from Cooper after the two tangled with one another during drills. Michael Vick was one of the players who stepped in to separate the two.

McLane added that Cooper looked visibly distraught after the disagreement and opted to stay out of drills involving receivers and defensive backs until DeSean Jackson came over to speak with him. Jackson also reportedly got in Williams’ face and had a conversation with him after the melee.

Again, this will probably end up being a whole lot of nothing. However, most of us have seen the video of Cooper’s racist outburst at a concert earlier this summer which resulted in him taking a leave of absence from the Eagles to seek counseling. Earlier this summer, Williams said he thought there was an “elephant in the room” with Cooper. It will be interesting to see if the incident from July played any role in the fight at practice on Thursday.

UPDATE: CSNPhilly.com shared a video of the fight, which you can see above. Eagles insider Geoff Mosher also added that Cooper said the incident had nothing to do with his racist remark and that the two quickly made amends.

Report: Riley Cooper was made aware of video before release

Riley Cooper videoPhiladelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper told reporters on Wednesday that he was not aware of the video that captured him threatening to “fight every n—er” at a Kenny Chesney concert priot to it being released by Crossing Broad that day. Crossing Broad’s Kyle Scott, who purchased the video, says Cooper’s claim is untrue.

According to Scott, the people in original possession of the video attempted to contact Cooper over Twitter many times regarding the video. They must have gotten Cooper’s attention, because the wide receiver eventually blocked one of the people on Twitter.

Here’s what Crossing Broad says:

The video had been circulated amongst a small group of friends, several of whom contacted Cooper via Twitter over the past month and a half. Two of the people who contacted Cooper, one of whom eventually provided us with the video, confirmed that Cooper blocked them on Twitter, perhaps as recently as Sunday night.

Before releasing the video, we knew that Cooper had been contacted about its existence, but were unaware of the extent to which attempts to reach him occurred. Our source estimates that, since mid-June, Cooper was “tweeted at” 10-15 times by at least three separate accounts about the video in which he threatened to “jump the fence and fight every nigger” at the Chesney concert. All of those Tweets have since been deleted, but we’ve seen several of them and can confirm their existence.

The Eagles seemed to respond to Scott’s report when they issued this statement on Sunday

“Riley Cooper made us aware of the tweets when the video became public. He told us that he did not know about the video. He informed us he blocked the tweets because he did not know the person nor understand the context of what that person was threatening. We promptly alerted NFL Security. This information potentially speaks to a legal issue that is a matter between Riley and the authorities. Our focus has been on Riley’s words and actions.”

The Eagles are sharing what Cooper told them, so it’s entirely possible that the receiver lied to them and the reporters. I tend to believe Crossing Broad more than Cooper at this point.

Eagles dismiss Riley Cooper from team activities as he seeks counseling

Riley-Cooper-EaglesCould this be the beginning of the end for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper? On Friday, the team announced that Cooper has been excused from all team activities so he can seek counseling in the wake of his recent racist outburst that was caught on camera.

“As we have said, Riley Cooper will be seeking counseling and we have excused him from all team activities,” the Eagles said in a statement. “This is all new territory and we are going to evaluate this timetable every step of the way. He will meet with professionals provided by the Eagles during this period of time to better help him understand how his words have hurt so many, including his teammates.”

On Thursday, ESPN reported that Cooper practiced with his teammates but stood alone between drills and spoke with no one. Comments from prominent players like LeSean McCoy have made it clear that the team is very upset with the wide receiver.

“The last few days have been incredibly difficult for me,” Cooper said in a statement. “My actions were inexcusable. The more I think about what I did, the more disgusted I get. I keep trying to figure out how I could have said something so repulsive, and what I can do to make things better.

“Right now, I think it’s important for me to take some time to reflect on this situation. The organization and my teammates have been extremely supportive, but I also realize that there are people who will have a tough time forgiving me for what I’ve done. The best thing for me, and for the team, is to step away for a short period of time.”

Cooper added that he will be speaking with a “variety of professionals” to determine the best course of action for the “healing process.” Now, the obvious question is if this will be the first step the Eagles take toward cutting the 25-year-old. If his teammates are not willing to forgive him and tension in the locker room is unavoidable, Chip Kelly may have no choice.

Is Riley Cooper’s career in danger?

Riley-Cooper-EaglesPhiladelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper may be free agent wide receiver Riley Cooper before long. At least, that is what ESPN writer Ashley Fox believes. On Thursday, Fox wrote about how Cooper stood alone at practice and did not speak with any of his 89 teammates who were on the field. Clearly, there are very few people who are willing to move past the 25-year-old’s racist outburst.

Because of where we are at in the calendar sports year, there has been very little to discuss aside from Cooper. That may be magnifying the severity of the situation in the media, but the Eagles would react this way regardless of how slow a news week we are having. Cooper is a person that they considered a friend, and LeSean McCoy’s recent comments made it clear that many players no longer feel that way.

[Video: Riley Cooper uses racial slur at Kenny Chesney concert]

Michael Vick, who tried to forgive Cooper for his mistake shortly after the video surfaced on Wednesday, acknowledged that his willingness to move on was not contagious.

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