By now everyone has heard about Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper and the issue surrounding his hurling of a racial slur at a security guard while attending a Kenny Chesney concert held in June in the City of Brotherly Love.
The reasons surrounding his use of the “N” word don’t matter much; the fact that he did it in an admitted state of agitation and inebriation doesn’t matter much either. He said it.
He admitted it, apologized to his friends, family, the public and to his teammates – many individually. He has been fined by the team with the money going to several charitable organizations in the city. He has been chastised in the press, became a prime topic on TV sports shows and physically threatened on TV interviews and social media. Some fans demanded that he be thrown off the Eagles and run out of the city. He recently left the team for four days to seek counseling.
We just recently learned of former Eagle Hugh Douglas hurling that racial epithet at fellow broadcaster Stephen Smith last week; both are African-American. The incident turned slightly physical and Douglas was reported to be intoxicated. We’ll be watching for the fallout of that event over the upcoming days.
In 2010, United States Congressman Charles Rangel (D-New York) was censured by his colleagues by an overwhelming margin of 333-79 in a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. His alleged infractions included failing to pay taxes on rental income he received from a vacation home in the Dominican Republic, failing to report hundreds of thousands in assets on financial-disclosure forms and using his position as the powerful chairman of the Ways and Means committee to solicit donations from companies, including firms with business before Congress, for a school named after him.
Rangel recently filed suit, to overturn his censure, against the seven members of the Congressional Ethics Committee who conducted the investigation.
Last year he was fined by the Federal Election Commission for using a rent-stabilized apartment as a campaign office for years, in violation of New York City laws.
A few days ago he was quoted as saying that House Republicans have done more damage to American competitiveness than al Qaeda ever could and terrorists couldn’t do a better job than the Republicans are doing (in damaging America). He also slammed the Tea Party by saying they were the same as the group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police.
Cooper is white, Douglas and Rangel are African-American. For his actions, Cooper was labeled a racist. For his actions, Rangel was re-elected last fall and hardly a whisper about his recent comments appeared anywhere. We’ll have to wait and see what happens to Douglas, but could it be that we hold sports figures to a higher standard than elected officials in the United States government?
Say it isn’t so.