Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy says "there's a reason" his former boss, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, got rid of the team's top black players. McCoy, 26, told ESPN the Magazine racial bias factored into Kelly's decision to trade him and to release former Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
“[Kelly] wants the full control. You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest. That’s the truth. There’s a reason. … It’s hard to explain with him. But there’s a reason he got rid of all the black players – the good ones – like that,” McCoy said during an interview for the magazine’s May issue. The Eagles declined ESPN’s request for a comment on McCoy’s statements.
McCoy was considered one of the NFL’s most productive running backs during his time in Philadelphia and enjoyed his best-ever season with the franchise in 2013 during Kelly’s first year as head coach. But McCoy’s numbers dropped off in 2014 and the Eagles traded him this offseason to the Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso.
The deal came one year after the Eagles released Jackson, their leading receiver, amid rumored off-field issues and concerns about how his behavior affected the team’s locker room chemistry. Kelly later described Jackson’s release as “purely a football decision.” But critics have noted Kelly’s Eagles cut ties with McCoy and Jackson while retaining the services of wide receiver Riley Cooper, who is white, after he was caught on video in 2013 making racist comments at a country music concert. The Eagles later signed Cooper to a contract extension.
“[ESPN media personality] Stephen A. Smith has talked about it. Other players have talked it. But that’s one of the things where youj don’t even care no more. I’m on a new team, ready to play. So it’s nothing to do with Chip.”
Smith, who appears on ESPN’s “First Take” television program, implied in March that some of Kelly’s personnel decisions were racially-motivated.
“This is Philadelphia. I’m always in Philly, and I’m telling you right now you’ve got people walking the streets and, hell with it, you’ve got brothers walking the streets going like ‘What’s up with Chip? I don’t understand this. I really don’t understand what you’re doing.’ Now I’m not saying I know, I’m just saying that it does strike me as a tad bit odd. I’m going to repeat this. Gone, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, you know, DeSean Jackson. Staying, Riley Cooper. Really? Really? OK,” Smith said.
Kelly addressed skepticism related to his personnel decisions earlier this year. “I don’t look at the color of any player. I just look at how they fit in our team. In 2015, I don’t think that’s something that’s ever come into my mindset,” he told NJ.com.