Vick: Team forgives Cooper for racial slur

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Aug 01 2013 10:41:04 AM EDT
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Riley Cooper's Philadelphia Eagles teammates have forgiven the wide receiver for incendiary remarks Cooper made at a concert.

Quarterback Michael Vick said the team is ready to move on after Cooper apologized on Wednesday for using a racial slur in a video that went viral.

"He apologized for what he did, and as a team we understood," Vick said Wednesday evening, according to the Los Angeles Times. "We all make mistakes in life and we all do and say things that maybe we do mean or we don't mean. But as a teammate, I forgave him."

Cooper, who is getting his first chance to start in the NFL after veteran Jeremy Maclin suffered a season-ending knee injury, was shown in a video taken at a Kenny Chesney concert shouting "I will fight every n----- here."

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie acknowledged Cooper had been fined.

"We are shocked and appalled by Riley Cooper's words," Lurie said in a statement. "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."

Earlier on Wednesday, Cooper apologized in a statement issued through the Eagles.

"I am so ashamed and disgusted with myself. I want to apologize," the statement read. "I have been offensive. I have apologized to my coach, to Jeffrey Lurie, to Howie Roseman and to my teammates. I owe an apology to the fans and to this community. I am so ashamed, but there are no excuses. What I did was wrong and I will accept the consequences."

Predictable peripheral consequences became apparent via social media almost immediately, including a comment from Vick's outspoken brother, Marcus. The younger Vick posted on Twitter: "Hey I'm putting a bounty on Riley's head. 1k to the first Free Safety or Strong safety that light his ass up! Wake him up please."

Michael Vick said he did not agree with his brother, Marcus.

"I don't agree with what my brother's saying," Michael Vick told the Times. "Riley's still my teammate. He just stood in front of us as a man and apologized for what he said. Somewhere deep down you've got to find some level of respect for that. ... My brother has to not show a certain level of ignorance himself."

Hall of Fame cornerback and current NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders earlier tweeted: "Keep your head up and focus on the things that bring u Peace & Joy. 4give yourself and dont look back! Praying 4U man. TRUTH"

It still is possible the NFL will take action after communication with the Eagles using the personal conduct policy to fine and/or suspend Cooper.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith issued a statement that read: "Racism, regardless of its form or its context, has no place in sport or society. The language used was wrong and does not reflect our player community. I know he is sorry for what he said and I am glad he is taking responsibility for his actions."

During the June 9 concert at Lincoln Financial Field, Chesney welcomes Cooper, center Jason Kelce and head coach Chip Kelly to the stage for a song called "Boys of Fall."

Following the concert, Cooper was also caught on video in an altercation in the parking lot. The YouTube video was posted at USAToday.com Wednesday.

The fourth-year receiver and University of Florida product has 46 career catches for 679 yards and five touchdowns.

As of Wednesday, he was working with the first team with DeSean Jackson. Jason Avant, the third receiver, is primarily used in the slot. Damaris Jackson is also in the running for more playing time and the Eagles could consider looking outside the organization.

Prior to Wednesday's video becoming public, general manager Roseman said the team was content exploring internal options for replacing Maclin.

Kelly didn't comment on the concert incident during his press conference Wednesday.

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