NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made a big statement in the aftermath of the Riley Cooper N-word controversy. On Aug 1., Goodell announced that the NFL would not be issuing any punishment regarding Cooper’s use of the racial epithet while at a Kenny Chesney concert.
Goodell revealed that he couldn’t hand out an additional fine or suspension because the Philadelphia Eagles had already fined Cooper a measly $37,000 and forced him to take sensitivity classes. Because of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, NFL officials aren’t allowed to punish players twice.
However, Cooper’s situation is unique. The Eagles called Goodell and gave him information on the incident after they punished Cooper. In turn, the team attempted to handcuff Goodell by not allowing him to be the first person to decide on a proper punishment. As a result, Goodell should have overruled the Eagles and issued a stiffer penalty.
By not suspending Cooper, Goodell sent a disturbing message to black NFL players and black fans who spend their hard-earned money to support their favorite teams. The underlying message is that a white player can use a racial slur and only receive a slap on the wrist. It shows that the NFL will tolerate such actions without severe repercussions.
At this point, all black NFL players and fans should feel disrespected by Goodell’s lack of action.