On Friday’s “First Take” on ESPN2, co-host Stephen A. Smith reacted to Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly saying in a press conference, that despite allegations of racism by former player LeSean McCoy, race plays no part in his roster decisions.
In March, Smith indicated that because the Eagles traded McCoy for a former college player of Kelly from his days at Oregon, who is not black, let their top wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin hit free agency without signing them and cut longtime defensive lineman Trent Cole, who are all black athletes, while keeping Riley Cooper despite a 2013 video surfaced of him using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert. Smith failed to note, however, that the Eagles signed Ryan Matthews and and DeMarco Murray, both black, to replace McCoy at runningback, and drafted Jordan Matthews out of Vanderbilt in 2014 to replace Jackson and Nelson Agholor out of USC in 2015 to replace the void left by Maclin.
“My issue is I need you to justify for me, Chip Kelly, why Riley Cooper is still on your roster but those three individuals are gone but we are hearing you want a certain kind of player on your roster,” Smith said. “We need you to explain yourself. There is nothing wrong with any player particularly of African-American descent in the aftermath of Riley Cooper asking that question. Answer the question and stop trying to change the damn narrative.”
Smith then went on to argue, “My point in bringing it up, you hear the narrative people are put off because this is ridiculous. This is ridiculous. I’m sorry. What black folks in the media are telling you it is ridiculous? I’m seeing a whole bunch of white folks saying that. But you all ain’t African-American. I’m not talking to you, one of the most enlightened, sensitive people I know, don’t tell us how to feel. I’m the guy, like you said, that didn’t believe Riley Cooper should be gone. But this is the National Football League; every day on the air, Skip, and you are talking about win now, winning football games.”
As far as McCoy’s comments on his former coach and Smith’s comments that he claims to have gotten from Eagles players, DeMarco Murray thinks otherwise.
From CSN Philadelphia: “I’m looking around,” Murray said with a smirk. “There are a lot of us out here. I’m not sure about that.”
Safety Malcom Jenkins also went against McCoy’s comments, telling CSN Philadelphia Kelly is a fair and unbiased coach.
“Chip has been very, very transparent on what he’s evaluating us on,” Jenkins said. “That’s not only what we do on the field, but what we do in our assessments and how disciplined we are with our nutrition and all the sports science stuff. I haven’t seen him make a move outside of those parameters. I don’t think anybody in the locker room now thinks we have an issue with race. I don’t see that being a problem in the future. I don’t think there’s any need for Chip to address it [with the locker room].”
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent