By Todd Quinones
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Eagles have told Riley Cooper he has to go through sensitivity training after he was caught making a racial slur on video (see related story).
According to the experts, sensitivity training can be very effective as long as the person is truly remorseful.
Riley Cooper can’t take those words back, and now the wide receiver has to somehow try to make things right.
Barry Morrison is the Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League.
“This language is harmful because it hurts people, it offends people, and it makes people weary and distrustful of others,” Morrison said.
Morrison applauds how the Eagles have responded so far, especially by telling Cooper he has to go through sensitivity training.
“I do not know what it’s going to be like, but I have to do it,” Cooper said.
“It’s something that we agreed to do and we’re going to do it,” Cooper added.
Deborah Weinstein has been conducting sensitivity training for 15 years.
“It’s not therapy. It’s training,” Weinstein said.
“After an episode like this, it’s a real jolt to someone,” she said.
Often times when someone gets caught making a bigoted remark they find themselves in front of someone like Weinstein.
In cases like this, Weinstein says someone has to go through about four two-hour training sessions that can be spread across multiple weeks.
The purpose is to cut through the racial slur to get to understanding the pain it causes.
“People really don’t understand. They’ve never thought about what it feels like to be on the other side,” said Weinstein. “Often times they don’t think about the other person and how they feel.”
Weinstein added alcohol often plays a role when someone uses a racial slur, but that is no excuse.