Friday, August 2, 2013

Riley Cooper

George Zimmerman should send Riley Cooper a thank you letter, a dozen roses, and a box of chocolates. Thanks to Cooper's gaff at a Kenny Chesney concert in Philadelphia, Zimmerman has, at least momentarily, fallen off the radar.

Riley Cooper, a player (for now) for the Eagles, forgot two very important things. We live in a terrifying technological age and if you're any kind of celebrity you need to keep your mouth shut when it comes to anything remotely controversial.

Because, if you don't, there are a lot of people out there who aren't as successful as you, fortunate as you, and are jealous of you. For no other reason than they just want to, people stand in line to tear you down to their level.

I, personally, have no idea why anyone wants to use the 'N' word in conversation or would even think to use it in any type of conversation, angry or not. It's a base 'cracker'...and shouldn't be used in any context. But, just because someone uses either doesn't make them a racist or a bigot. It just makes them absent minded, stupid or both. Absent minded by not thinking before speaking. Stupid for thinking the statement won't come back to haunt  you.

None of us know what type of person Riley Cooper is deep down. Even his team mates don't know. If they had, some of them wouldn't have been shocked and appalled by what he said. Yet, he won't be given a second chance to redeem himself. At least, not with the Eagles.

Our society today reminds me of a play I helped with once. I know my director would say 'helped' is a term of perception in this instance, but that's another story. It was about the Devil and Daniel Webster, and the play was called Scratch. I remember the jury of the dead we had in the play, with all kinds of grotesque make-up on to give the experience of being long deceased. They looked intently at the accused with wide and nasty eyes, ready to pronounce guilty as soon as their master called for it. The reason our society reminds me of this play, is the make-up on the jurors could just as easily be the evidence of their past sins and transgressions. But they aren't seeing those. Oh no. They're only seeing the accused and what he's been accused of. The judgments made today by society when these stories come out are of the same kind. Taking no thought of our own ill deeds, we rise above the accused and focus solely on him, as if we have a higher claim to righteousness than others. What balderdash.

I'm a firm believer in second chances. I believe we should forgive before forgiveness is asked for. I know for a fact we all have done and do stupid things we regret and wish we could take back. But, that's what experience is. It is the sum total of how you can learn in life, by both your mistakes and your sound choices. Very few things should you be able to do that ruin your life forever. Murder is one. Rape, thievery, name a few. But a word? In the heat of the moment? That doesn't demand another chance? I think he should be disciplined, but I don't think he should be crucified.

Riley Cooper was caught red-handed. Most of us are not. We don't lose our careers over it. Why should he?

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