For Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, the use of a racial slur nearly cost him his job. However, two Detroit Lions players claim that racially charged profanity is simply a mark of their close friendship.
Lions safety Louis Delmas claims that he and teammate Tony Scheffler regularly greet each other by using the words “cracker” and “n-----,” the Detroit News reports, but they claim their racial slurs are used without any sort of negative connotation. According to Delmas, they are merely an indication of the pair’s longstanding friendship.
“Me and [Scheffler] have a relationship many people do not have -- both black and white,” Delmas told the Detroit News. “I look at him like my brother. I love him to death. He greets me, ‘What’s up, n-----?”’ But I understand it. So I say, ‘What’s up, cracker?’ But we would never take it outside the building.”
Scheffler echoed Delmas’ sentiment concerning the pair’s use of racial slurs. “I treat Louis like a little brother,” Scheffler told the Detroit News. “He knows my wife and kids. He calls me ‘white boy’ and ‘cracker.’ We go back and forth with it and we are both comfortable with each other.”
Still, Delmas understands that his and Scheffler’s use of the N-word and phrases like “cracker” is far different than the way Cooper used the racial slur in his viral video. “The way the public blew up the [Cooper] situation, it should be blown up that way because he needs to learn a lesson. You can’t say that. You will never see me going outside the building calling someone cracker. You can’t do that.”
Cooper initially came under fire when a video, in which he used a racist epithet, leaked online. In the viral video -- which was filmed at a Kenny Chesney concert -- the 25-year-old could be heard saying, “I will jump that fence and fight every n----- here” to an African-American security guard. He quickly apologized for the racist tirade, but he briefly left Eagles training camp to attend counseling.
Delmas and Scheffler’s casual use of racially charged language is understandable (at least to a certain extent) given their longtime friendship. The NFL veterans have been friends since they attended Western Michigan University together, and they work out together in Florida each offseason, the Detroit News reports.