Sometimes an apology just isn't enough.
Sometimes an apology just isn't enough.
For those who missed the latest outrage involving the "N-word," it comes courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper.
Apparently with beer muscles on top of his already athletic frame, Cooper, hanging with a buddy at a Kenny Chesney concert, was none too happy with a security guard of the African-American persuasion and said to the friend in attendance, "I will jump that fence and I will fight every (N-word) here."
Just precious. Appalling. Utterly stupid and completely unforgiveable. Although Cooper is trying like hell to make amends for dropping that little N-bomb in a world where privacy proves more illusory than anything anyone will ever witness at a Criss Angel performance. Of course, in the world of smartphones with high-definition cameras, someone near him had the wherewithal to catch his little foray into portraying Superman on camera. It hit the Internet, and it has exploded.
To his credit, he's facing reporters in the Philly-South Jersey area.
"I'm extremely embarrassed and I'm extremely hurt and extremely sorry for my actions," he said in a report. "I've talked to Mr. (Jeffrey) Lurie (Eagles owner). I've talked to Howie Roseman (team general manager). I've talked to coach (Chip) Kelly and explained to them the whole situation and I'm willing to accept any consequences."
He appeared contrite and genuinely hurt. And his way back will be made much easier courtesy of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who willingly accepted something from Cooper that many people still won't accept from him — an apology.
"As a team, we understood because we all make mistakes in life and we all do and say things that maybe we do mean and maybe we don't mean," Vick said. "But as a teammate, I forgave him. We understand the magnitude of the situation. We understand a lot of people may be hurt and offended, 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. That's what makes it easy, and at the same time, hard to understand. But easy to forgive him."
I cannot speak for anyone else. But it's not good enough.
Cooper put the blame on that old devil John Barleycorn. Yessir, Jamie Foxx sang "blame it on the alcohol." Easy. Quick. Convenient and a crock.
He can go that route if he wants, but it shows that he cannot handle his fermented grains very well. But more importantly, there's another fundamental reality at work.
Speaking from experience, alcohol not only impairs judgment and is addictive, but it amplifies who you are as an individual and what you're feeling in the moment. With all due respect to Cooper, it reveals what's part of an individual's personality and that is why he will get no quarter here.
Personally, I'm tired of people apologizing for using the N-word. If that's who you are, be who you are. In my world, it's that simple. But do not expect me to condone or forgive you for being the lowest of human beings who conveys substandard status on people of another ethnic group.
As recently as a couple of years ago, I would have shrugged my shoulders and acknowledged a mistake by someone like Cooper and moved on. Not any longer.
After close to 50 years of life and hearing that word used against me as recently as two months ago when I was trying to celebrate the birthday of one of my best friends I have and will ever have — a guy who happens to be Italian — and having some 22-year-old amateur boozer tell me that he'd "slap the (N-word)" out of me, I'm done.
I should have been done after living in Selma, Ala., in the late 1970s, but I convinced myself that people using that word is an isolated issue. Maybe not so much. It's just a matter of whether an individual's personality is revealed.
Being the father of two sons, I know they have and will continue to hear that word directed at them throughout their lives. I'm no longer under the illusion that a biracial president with an African father will make the United States post-racial. My sons will likely come to me and ask for advice. Unfortunately, I won't be able to offer any.
I can forget Cooper's blatant stupidity. Ultimately, that's on him. But the bigotry?
My ability to forgive on this issue is gone.