By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Riley Cooper acknowledges he has hurt a lot of people. Now, he wants the healing process to move forward.
Cooper addressed his teammates Wednesday night concerning his use of a racial slur. Cooper knows it will take time for some people to forgive him for his actions. Cooper also said it was difficult to talk to the rest of the Eagles.
“It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do,” said Cooper. “It was extremely emotional. They could tell I was sincere, but it was tough.”
Cooper has received a wide variety of actions from both his teammates and the general public. Cooper is hoping he will receive forgiveness from everyone involved, and is also hoping the Eagles can move forward.
“It’s definitely tough,” Cooper said. “But I’m hoping we can rally around this and my teammates will be behind me so we can all get through this.”
Head Coach Chip Kelly believes it will take time before the incident is behind many of Cooper’s teammates. Kelly said he will set up an open discussion about the incident with every member of the team.
“It’s an important situation to address,” said Kelly. “We’re not going to stick our head in the sands. I think we encourage dialogue in our position groups and also I think if there are issues, we need to set up meetings with Riley and those guys so they can get to know Riley better.”
Center Jason Kelce was at the concert with Cooper when the incident took place. While Kelce knows this is a difficult time for his teammates, he realizes Cooper must take responsibility for his actions.
“Everyone’s got their own opinions about it,” Kelce said. “Part of you feels bad for Riley, but part of you knows that’s a cultural rule that you don’t say that word. Now, he’s going to have to face the consequences.”
The Eagles will practice again on Friday.