Let me start off by saying that what Riley Cooper said was wrong and insensitive. He should have never said what he said, but he did and it is time to move past. Can any of us truly say that at 25 years old, we never made a bad decision or said something we regret? Does anyone believe he was at a Country music concert and was NOT drunk? I do not think so. I can understand his team, the Philadelphia Eagles, giving him a brief leave of absence to get some sensitivity training or whatever. What I cannot understand is the public outcry for the league office to suspend him. Since when has the NFL turned into Big Brother, watching and judging its players even when they are away from anything related to football?
First of all, for those who don't know, the league could not punish Riley Cooper. Under the newest collective bargaining agreement, both the team and the league cannot punish a player. So, as soon as the Eagles decided to handle things in house, there was little to nothing Roger Goodell could have done. Second, I think people as a whole are becoming way too concerned with being politically correct all the time. It is turning this country into a soft country. We are becoming far too worried about appearing so perfect, that its rotting us from the inside. Finally, although what he said was wrong, is he not protected by a little thing called the first amendment?
Freedom of Speech is one of the strongest pillars this country was founded on. It allows any citizen to speak there mind, as long as they are not threatening violence on another person. For example, it is this freedom of speech that allows members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church to rally with hate at the funerals of fallen soldiers and the like. It is despicable, but they are protected by the Constitution. While Cooper's contract almost certainly has language concerning issues detrimental to the team, his biggest punishment is going to be going into a mixed minority locker room everyday and having to look his teammates in the eye. Some have said they forgive him, others have said they aren't sure yet about him.
Another aspect of the story is how the guy grew up over the last 7-10 years. He played his college ball at Florida before joining the Eagles. Anyone who has ever played football, or been in a locker room, you know the "N" word is thrown around in many different contexts. While Cooper's use was certainly on the bad end of the spectrum, is it out the realm of possibility he felt somewhat exempt from the consequences because he worked and went to school with a bunch of black athletes. Perhaps he was so overexposed to the word, he felt nothing wrong with using it however he felt. Surely, he was mistaken in his thinking, but at the end of the day this story was way overblown by the media. Its time to move on, and start reporting about all the murders, crime and poverty that are effecting this country in a far more powerful way.