It’s a slow news day as the Miami Dolphins are up in Canton and at some point today will take a tour of the Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will kick off later today and wouldn’t you know it the NFL will kick-off its exhibition season tomorrow night thus starting the 2013 pre-season. So forgive me if this is not really news.
According to NFL.com by way of Jeff Darlington, Mike Pouncey who may not have apologized for his “Free Hernandez” hat isn’t shy about showing his support for another former Gator teammate. This time, Pouncey is coming out in support of Riley Cooper. The Philadelphia Eagle WR who daily seems to be heading closer to an NFL exit than a Philly return.
Cooper was video recorded by cell phone at a Kenny Chesney concert last month, if you haven’t heard the full story yet. In that recording he is heard to say the “N” word. O.k. so being drunk at a concert and spouting off is going to get you a dreaded “WTF was I thinking” morning after. For Cooper, it very well may cost him his career. Cooper has already been fined by the club, then put on a leave of absence from the team to seek therapy, issued an outright sincere apology, and has had the Philadelphia Mayor come out and blast the organization for basically not firing him.
In steps Mike Pouncey.
“I spent three years in college with him. I feel bad for him. That’s not Riley Cooper,” Pouncey told NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington on Friday. “I know him. I know his family. I wasn’t offended by it because I know him. It’s just an ugly situation, and I really feel bad for him. I’ll reach out to him eventually — but I want things to die down. I don’t want to be one of those guys trying to give him advice.”
“I know what he’s going through right now. … One mistake can really hurt,” Pouncey explained. “I know he’s disgusted with himself — and I just hope he gets through it. It feels like the lowest point of your career. You’re thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m that guy who made that mistake.’ You don’t want to be that guy.” – Mike Pouncey to Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network
Pouncey has been criticized by not coming out and apologizing for the insensitivity of wearing his now infamous hat. The Dolphins believed that silence on the subject was the better route. In this case I am actually glad that Pouncey, when asked, stuck up for Cooper. Cooper is being lambasted for a mistake. A one word mistake. It doesn’t make him a bigot. It doesn’t make him racist. It makes him a stupid drunk who said something that he regrets.
I could go into the larger issue of today’s society regarding the use of the word and how it is perceived based on your skin tone and whether or not the word ends with an “a” or an “r” but this isn’t the platform for that. I will only say this, we allow it to be used in our pop culture and call it acceptable and as such, whether we like it or not it becomes part of the vernacular. Jay-Z uses it as song titles, Kanye West uses it daily. The more people hear it in pop culture the more they think it’s o.k. And they would be wrong. We can’t curb racist remarks when our society as a whole gets to pick and choose when it is and when it isn’t acceptable.
For Cooper it was a racist remark. It was a drunk idiot mistake and one I would bet he will not be quick to repeat. It doesn’t however make him a racist. It makes him an idiot drunkard. Now John Rocker…yeah that dude was a racist. Funny though the circus that has surrounded this incident is astonishingly crazy. To the point of really distracting that team. Imagine the circus that would follow a team if an active player came out and announced he was gay. The media need to stop speculating on that because as we can see, THEY would make it a living hell for that person.
As I said…slow day for news.