Riley Cooper to receive training
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday on ESPN Radio that the NFL will not punish Riley Cooper for his use of a racial slur, while the Philadelphia Eagles announced later in the day that the wide receiver would undergo sensitivity training.
"Obviously we stand for diversity and inclusion. Comments like that, they are obviously wrong, they are offensive and they are unacceptable. There is no one that feels stronger about that than the NFL, our teams and our players," he said on the "Mike and Mike" program.
Mike and Mike
ESPN NFL reporter Sal Paolantonio dishes on the Eagles' reaction to Riley Cooper's apology for using a racial slur, whether Philadelphia's discipline of Cooper was enough, Michael Vick's comments and more.
"He has accepted responsibility for it. He has spoken to his team. He has been disciplined by the club and will go through some training with the club to understand," he continued.
"I'm glad to see the club stepped up and took a decisive action quickly. That's the important part of this. We do not penalize at the club level and the league level for the same incident ... that's something we have an agreement in our collective bargaining agreement not to do. So we will not be taking action separately from the club."
The Eagles released a statement Thursday confirming that Cooper would be enrolled in sensitivity training.
"In meeting with Riley yesterday, we decided together that his next step will be to seek outside assistance to help him fully understand the impact of his words and actions. He needs to reflect. As an organization, we will provide the resources he needs to do so," the team said.
Saying he was "ashamed and disgusted" with himself, Cooper apologized repeatedly Wednesday for making a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert last month that was caught on video and led to him getting fined an undisclosed amount.
The wide receiver, however, said he was fined a significant amount by the team, whose owner, Jeffrey Lurie, said he was "appalled" by Cooper's words.
The video of Cooper using the N-word surfaced Wednesday on the Internet. Cooper issued a statement of apology, then met with reporters outside the team's practice facility.
"This is the lowest of lows,'' Cooper said. "This is not the type of person I want to be portrayed as. This isn't the type of person I am. I'm extremely sorry.''
Cooper said he was drinking when he directed the slur at an African-American security guard at the concert in June.
"That's no excuse for what I said. I don't use that term," he said. "I was raised better than that. I have a great mom and dad, and they're disgusted with my actions."
I don't use that term. I was raised better than that. I have a great mom and dad, and they're disgusted with my actions.” -- Riley Cooper
Cooper had tentatively moved into a starting role after Jeremy Maclin tore his right ACL in practice Saturday. Still, he's not guaranteed a roster spot in coach Chip Kelly's new offense.
"I'm willing to accept all consequences,'' Cooper said. "I know no one in Philadelphia is happy with me right now. I accept that. I hope they see the true me and accept my apology. I know it will take a while."
Cooper apologized to teammates after talking to the media.
"As a team we understood because we all make mistakes in life, and we all do and say things that maybe we do mean and maybe we don't mean,'' Eagles quarterback Michael Vick said.
"But as a teammate I forgave him. We understand the magnitude of the situation. We understand a lot of people may be hurt and offended, but I know Riley Cooper. I know him as a man. I've been with him for the last three years, and I know what type of person he is. That's what makes it easy, and at the same time, hard to understand. But easy to forgive him."
Vick also rebuked his brother, Marcus Vick, for profanity-laced tweets, including one offering a $1,000 bounty for any player who lays Cooper out in a game. Marcus Vick later deleted all the tweets.
"To address my brother's situation and what he's saying, I don't think it's really relevant," Michael Vick said. "You can't allow yourself to be encumbered in what's going on. I don't agree with what my brother is saying. Riley is still my teammate, and he just stood in front of us and apologized for what he said. Somewhere deep down you've got to find some level of respect for that. To people in the outside world who don't know how we're dealing with it, they're going to forge their own opinions, but my brother has to not show a certain level of ignorance himself."
Chesney reached out to ESPN.com senior writer LZ Granderson about the incident and said he was "shocked as anyone to see the video."
"I don't believe in discrimination in any form, and I think using language like that is not only unacceptable, it is hateful beyond words," Chesney told Granderson.
Information from ESPN.com senior writer LZ Granderson and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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