LeSean McCoy said Thursday that, like teammate Michael Vick, he forgives Riley Cooper for his use of a racial slur but that it has changed his relationship with the wide receiver, who he had considered a friend.
“I forgive him. We’ve been friends for a long time,” the running back said Thursday. “But in a situation like this, you really find out about someone. Just on a friendship level, I can’t really respect someone like that.”
McCoy said his relationship with Cooper no longer will extend beyond the football field and there’s nothing Cooper can do to change that.
“Ain’t nothing to prove. He said how he felt,” McCoy said, according to CSNPhilly.com. “He’s still a teammate. I’m still going to block for him. I’m still gonna show great effort. Just on a friendship level, and as a person, I can’t really respect somebody like that. I think as a team, we need to move past it. There are some things that are going to be hard to work with, to be honest.”
The Philadelphia Eagles fined Cooper an undisclosed amount for his use of the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert last month. The receiver said Wednesday the fine was substantial. Coach Chip Kelly said Thursday the team didn’t contemplate releasing him, however.
The Eagles also said Thursday that Cooper would be enrolled in sensitivity training and that he needed to “reflect” on his comments. Cooper apologized Wednesday for his remarks both in a statement and to his teammates, and later took questions from and reporters.
Roger Goodell said Thursday on ESPN Radio that no further discipline would be coming from the league as the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t permit dual punishment by the league and a team for the same incident.
Kelly acknowledged, however, that the uproar over Cooper’s comments is far from over.
“It’s still a process that’s going on. I think some players that know him better than other players, I think maybe they’ve moved quicker,” he said. “Again, this isn’t a situation that you put underneath the rug and say, ‘It happened, let’s move on. We have to get ready for Thursday’s practice.’ That certainly isn’t the mood or the feeling around this building.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted several unnamed Eagles players who were upset with Cooper, including one who said the receiver would have received much more than a fine if Andy Reid was still the team’s head coach. Another unnamed Eagle said he found it hard to think of a unified team after Cooper’s comments.
“The coaches are saying we should think team first, but this is just crazy,” the player told the newspaper. “Was he thinking about the team when he said that?”
McCoy, however, was the only player to comment on Cooper’s slur without requesting anonymity. He said he had spoken with Cooper but said he didn’t see many other teammates interacting with the wide receiver at practice.
“I don’t think he’ll get the same treatment and people talking to him as he did before the incident happened. Which is expected, though. I don’t think you say things like that and think that everything will be the same. He’s looked at differently,” McCoy said, according to CSNPhilly.com.
Kelly said Thursday that he was concerned the incident could divide the locker room.
“There could be a concern with that; yeah, there is a concern with that,” Kelly said. “Not that there could be, but obviously, it’s a very hot topic and that’s why I encourage our group and our team. We talked about it last night at the team meeting. We have to have some open communication to make sure that everybody understands what went on and then what Riley’s doing to atone for that.”
ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio contributed to this report.
This article was originally posted on ESPN.com