PHILADELPHIA — Saying he was “ashamed and disgusted” with himself, Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper apologized repeatedly for making a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert that was caught on video and led to him getting fined.
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.”
Cooper said he was fined a significant amount of money by the Eagles.
“We are shocked and appalled by Riley Cooper’s words,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “This sort of behavior or attitude from anyone has no role in a civil society. He has accepted responsibility for his words and his actions. He has been fined for this incident.”
The league released the following statement: “The NFL stands for diversity and inclusion. Comments like this are wrong, offensive, and unacceptable.”
A fifth-round pick out of Florida, Cooper is entering his fourth season in the NFL. He has 46 catches and five touchdowns in three years with the Eagles.
Cooper had tentatively moved into a starting role after Jeremy Maclin tore his right ACL in practice last Saturday. Still, he’s not guaranteed a roster spot in 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,” 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.”