PHILADELPHIA – As a furor escalated over the use of a racial slur by Eagles receiver Riley Cooper, and Philadelphia’s mayor criticized the team for issuing no punishment beyond a fine, Cooper took an indefinite leave Friday to seek counseling.
Michael A. Nutter, Philadelphia’s mayor, called the receiver’s remarks “repugnant, insensitive and ignorant.”
“This incident is a disgrace and cannot be excused by just paying a fine, as if it were a parking ticket,” Nutter, who is black, said in a statement.
Chip Kelly, the Eagles’ first-year coach, said the team planned for Cooper to return. But some of Cooper’s teammates have expressed stunned indignation at his behavior. And Nutter’s remarks seemed certain to add pressure on the Eagles to part ways with the receiver.
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Had this incident involved a city official instead of an athlete, Nutter said, “I would insist on a suspension at a minimum and would seriously have to evaluate terminating such an individual.”
At a Kenny Chesney concert here in June, Cooper said he had been drinking when he argued with a black security guard and used a racial slur in threatening to fight every black person in sight. After video of the incident surfaced this week, Cooper apologized to teammates.
The Eagles issued a fine of an undisclosed amount. The league said it would take no further action.
On Friday, Cooper left the team for unspecified counseling.
“My actions were inexcusable,” Cooper, 25, said in a statement, adding that recent days had been “incredibly difficult for me.”
“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.”
Cooper added that while team officials and some teammates had been supportive, “I also realize that there are people who will have a tough time forgiving me for what I have done.”
A serviceable player, reliable near the goal line and on special teams, Cooper has been a reserve during his three previous seasons with the Eagles.
Associate says Hernandez put guns in a box
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – New court records reveal an associate of Aaron Hernandez told police the former New England tight end put guns in a box in his basement after returning from the industrial park where his friend was fatally shot.
An affidavit released by Attleboro District Court says Carlos Ortiz told investigators Hernandez put firearms in the black box after Odin Lloyd’s killing. The document indicates one was a small gun Ortiz handed Hernandez after they returned home with another associate, Ernest Wallace. Ortiz said he earlier saw Hernandez with an additional “large handgun.”
Hernandez, 23, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Lloyd, a 27-year-old Boston semipro player whose body was found June 17 about a mile from Hernandez’s North Attleborough, Mass., home. His attorneys have said the case against him is circumstantial and they are confident he will be exonerated.
Authorities believe Lloyd was killed with a .45-caliber Glock, which hasn’t been recovered. Prosecutors say video surveillance from Hernandez’s home before and after the killing shows him holding a gun that appears to be a Glock.
Police divers have been searching this week in a lake in Bristol, Conn., Hernandez’s hometown.
• The San Francisco 49ers signed 27-year-old receivers Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins to one-year deals after both veteran free agents worked out for the team.
• Mike Holmgren, former Cleveland Browns president, stopped by the team’s training camp in Berea, Ohio, for a visit.
The former Seahawks coach and general manager’s tenure running the Browns ended Nov. 30 when he was replaced by new owner Jimmy Haslam III.
Of the NFL, Holmgren said, “I still miss it tremendously, but that’s what it is right now. I’m doing a little radio thing in Seattle (on KJR 950 AM), so that’s fun, and just traveling a little bit and doing some things that I haven’t been able to do for a long time.”
Holmgren told media members, “I’m one of you guys now. Life is good.”