Riley Cooper has been excused from all of the Philadelphia Eagles team activities during training camp as he seeks counseling and deals with repercussions from a racial slur he used.
He is expected to be away from the team for an extended and unspecified period time.
“This is all new territory and we are going to evaluate this timetable every step of the way,” the Eagles’ statement said. “He will meet with professionals provided by the Eagles during this period of time to better help him understand how his words have hurt so many, including his teammates.”
That there were deep feelings that couldn’t be resolved by Riley’s apology and Michael Vick’s forgiveness was clear Thursday afternoon, when some players, speaking anonymously, said they couldn’t put the slur behind them.
“The last few days have been incredibly difficult for me,” Cooper said in a statement released by the team. “My actions were inexcusable. The more I think about what I did, the more disgusted I get. I keep trying to figure out how I could have said something so repulsive, and what I can do to make things better.
“Right now I think it’s important for me to take some time to reflect on this situation. The organization and my teammates have been extremely supportive, but I also realize there are people who will have a tough time forgiving me for what I’ve done. The best thing for me and for the team is to step away for a period of time.
“During this time, I’m going to be speaking with a variety of professionals to help me understand how I could have done something that was so offensive and how I can start the healing process for everyone. As long as it takes and whatever I have to do, I’m going to try to make this right.”