NFL commissioner Roger Goodell chimed in on the Riley Cooper racial slur saga on Thursday morning, and said he would not suspend the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver.
A video of Cooper released on Wednesday afternoon showed him shouting at a Kenny Chesney concert in June: “I will jump that fence and fight every n***** here bro!”
According to a statement released by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, the team fined Cooper for an undisclosed amount, and he has since apologized on Twitter and to the media.
"I shouldn't have,'' Cooper said. "I'm disgusted. And I'm sorry. That's not the type of person I am. I wasn't raised that way. I have a great mom and dad at home. And they're extremely, extremely disappointed in me. They are disgusted with my actions."
Goodell was asked during an interview on ESPN on Thursday about the difference between what Cooper said and the Washington Redskins moniker, long seen as discriminatory and disrespectful to Native Americans.
“We do not penalize at the club level and league level for same incident,” Goodell said the “Mike and Mike” radio show according to the Washington Post. “We will not be taking action separately from the club.”
Roughly 70 percent of NFL athletes are African American. That includes Cooper’s star teammates like quarterback Michael Vick, running back LeSean McCoy, and receiver DeSean Jackson.
Cooper said he had met with Lurie, head coach Chip Kelly, and general manager Howie Roseman and apologized. Cooper later spoke with his teammates and Vick told the media he had forgiven his wide out’s egregious words.
Vick later tweeted: “Riley's my friend Our relationship is mutual respect. He looked me in the eyes and apologized. I believe in forgiveness and I believe in him”
Fellow receiver Jason Avant also said he believes Cooper is not a racist and that he stood by his teammate, according to Yahoo! Sports.
But Vick’s brother Marcus, known for outrageous rants on Twitter, wasn’t so forgiving. His tweets have since been deleted but Marcus Vick put a $1,000 bounty on Cooper’s head.
“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……” he tweeted. “Hahahahaha! Peace of s***. Who want to play on a team with guys like that?”
Marcus Vick then followed up to say his Twitter account was hacked. Michael Vick later denounced his brother's words.
Thus far, Eagles and other NFL players have kept their reactions private and off social media, but a report from CBS Philly shows plenty are angry with Cooper. They also hinted that racial slurs are used frequently during games.
“I know there are more than a few guys angry on my team [at what Cooper said], you would think that after all of these years people would be past this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone acts like an idiot and takes a shot at his knees if he’s on special teams,” said one anonymous NFL player. “The league wants to keep a lid on this as much as possible, and hopes it goes away. The ‘n-word,’ as they like to say, is all over. I will tell you this, it’s said all over—on the field, definitely in locker rooms. This is really nothing new.”
This has provided an unnecessary distraction for the Eagles. They ended last season with a 4-12 record and resulted in the firing of long-time head coach Andy Reid, and with Kelly brought in with a new offensive plan. Cooper was expected to compete for the No. 2 receiver position vacated when Jeremy Maclin went down with a torn ACL this past weekend.