Riley Cooper, the Philadelphia Eagles’ wide receiver fined for using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert last month, has left the team to seek counseling, the Eagles said in a statement to ESPN.
"As we have said, Riley Cooper will be seeking counseling and we have excused him from all team activities," the statement read. "This is all new territory and we are going to evaluate this timetable every step of the way. 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."
Cooper, who previously issued an apology, also made a statement that was released by the team.
"The last few days have been incredibly difficult for me," Cooper said. "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 that 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."
Cooper was fined an undisclosed amount from the team— he called it “substantial”—and has been criticized across the country and within his clubhouse, notably by Eagles’ running back LeSean McCoy.
"I forgive him. We've been friends for a long time," said McCoy. "But in a situation like this, you really find out about someone. Just on a friendship level, I can't really respect someone like that."
According to Deadspin, Cooper was irritated because he wanted to go backstage at the concert, but a black security guard wouldn’t let him. That’s when he said, on camera, “I will fight every [n-word] here.”