- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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OXNARD, Calif. -- Cowboys starting safeties Will Allen and Barry Church said that a racial slur used by Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, caught on video during a concert, will make him a target of other players.
"Absolutely. I'm just going to be honest," Allen said after Thursday's walk-through practice. "You don't want to see that somebody is going to be mad and perpetuate the negativity. I don't think it's something that we should do. I'm sure it will happen."
Church didn't know about the incident until a reporter told him.
"I feel like that’s one of the words you shouldn’t say at all," Church said. "Even as a black person, you shouldn’t say it. I mean, it’s unforgivable, but we’re all not perfect in this world. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made some myself. I’m offended by it, but if he apologized, I guess you’ve got to let bygones be bygones."
When asked if this put a target on Cooper, Church said, "There are going to be players in the league that definitely are going to put a target on him. For me individually, if he apologized, I have no wrongdoing for him or harsh feelings for him. But there’s definitely going to be a target on him from other players in the league. I can tell you that much."
On ESPN Radio, commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL will not punish Cooper for his use of the racial slur, but the Eagles fined him and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.
In terms of how the locker room will handle Cooper, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy told the NFL Network, "I can't respect a guy like that." However, in a later interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, McCoy said he forgave Cooper.
Cooper apologized to his teammates Wednesday.
"I'm sure it will be a difficult task with all the things going on in this world and just the divide we still have [as a society]," Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said. "It's going to be a difficult task, but if you have the same goal, the same purpose, you should be able to move on and forgive. It's out of your control after that."
The Cowboys play the NFC East rival Eagles at Philadelphia on Oct. 20 and in the regular-season finale Dec. 29 at AT&T Stadium.