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Quarterback Michael Vick spoke with his teammates about the need for forgiveness and unity.
Philadelphia wide receiver Riley Cooper meets with the media at training camp on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Cooper has been fined by the team for making a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert that was caught on video, leading him to say he's "ashamed and disgusted" with himself.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Eagles are setting up Riley Cooper with sensitivity training after the wide receiver was caught on video making a racial slur.
"In meeting with Riley yesterday, we decided together that his next step will be to seek outside assistance to help him fully understand the impact of his words and actions," the team said in a statement Thursday. "He needs to reflect."
Cooper apologized profusely Wednesday after a video of him using the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert last month surfaced on the Internet. The Eagles immediately fined him, and the league plans no further discipline. In the video, Cooper vowed to "fight every [N-word] here" at the concert.
"I know Riley made a heinous mistake," coach Chip Kelly said Thursday. "I was appalled by it."
Teammate LeSean McCoy said he forgives Cooper, but he doesn't view him the same anymore.
"Just on a friendship level, and as a person, I can't really respect somebody like that," McCoy said.
After Cooper delivered an emotional apology to the team Wednesday, and quarterback Michael Vick spoke to his teammates about the need for forgiveness and unity, linebacker DeMeco Ryans and other Eagles interviewed said they were ready to move on.
"I accepted his apology," Ryans said.
Does Ryans think Cooper is a racist?
"No," Ryans said.
Vick, a former Virginia Tech star, said he spoke privately with Cooper for about 15 minutes.
"We all make mistakes in life. We all do and say things that maybe we do mean or don't mean. But as a teammate, I forgave him. As a team, we forgave him," Vick said Wednesday. "We understand the magnitude of the situation, we understand that a lot of people may be hurt. But I know Riley Cooper. I know him as a man. I've been with him for the last three years, and I know what type of person he is ... Hard to understand the situation, but easy to forgive him."
Vick also rebuked his brother, ex-Hokie Marcus Vick, for profanity-laced tweets, including one offering a $1,000 bounty for any player who lays Cooper out in a game. Marcus Vick later said his Twitter account had been hacked and deleted all the tweets.
"To address my brother's situation and what he's saying, I don't think it's really relevant," Michael Vick said. "I don't agree with what my brother is saying. Riley is still my teammate and he just stood in front of us and apologized for what he said. Somewhere deep down you've got to find some level of respect for that. To people in the outside world who don't know how we're dealing with it, they're going to forge their own opinions, but my brother has to not show a certain level of ignorance himself."
Cooper, red-eyed and shaken, told reporters Wednesday that his parents were "extremely disappointed" in him.
"This is the lowest of lows," Cooper said. "This is not the type of person I want to be portrayed as. This isn't the type of person I am. I'm extremely sorry."
Cooper said he was drinking when he directed the slur at an African-American security guard at the concert.
"There was a confrontation I handled extremely, extremely poorly ... I said something that is absolutely disgusting and terrible," Cooper said.
Asked about players on other teams seeking retribution, Vick said: "What if your son or daughter made a mistake of this fashion, how would you want people to proceed? I've been there before. It's a very delicate situation that we all understand."
But what about that word, and the shock of hearing it from a teammate?
"Him being my brother and knowing him for so long, it's hard to imagine him saying that," Vick said. "I've done heard that word so many times, whether good, bad or indifferent. I try not to even think about what the meaning behind it is, or why would he'd even be saying it."
Cooper, 25, was born in Oklahoma City and raised in Clearwater, Fla. A fifth-round pick out of Florida, Cooper is entering his fourth season in the NFL. He had tentatively moved into a starting role.
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