All That and a Bag of Mail: Riley Cooper's Week Was Worse Than Yours Edition

BY foxsports • August 1, 2013

Ah, the Friday mailbag is here. And while you're reading this I'll be sitting in a CLE making sure that I get my 15 hours of continuing legal education. The requirement that lawyers get 15 hours of continuing legal education every year is as close to water torture as the legal practice allows.

So it won't be that enjoyable. 

But no matter how bad your week has been, it has probably been better than former Florida Gator and current Philadelphia Eagle Riley Cooper's past several days. We'll dive into his situation in the mailbag below.  

In the meantime, our beaver pelt trader of the week is Memphis quarterback Jacob Karam who played the piano with cancer patients at St. Jude. It's an uplifting video. Watch it, you'll be glad that you did. But just a warning, it might get a bit dusty in your office. 

Now on to the mailbag. 

Adam R. writes:


What actual crime would Riley Cooper rather have committed than being on video yelling a racial slur?"

Great question. 

Keep in mind that Riley Cooper uttered the worst possible racial slur for a white guy in 21st century America.. And, by the way, the guy he yelled at was a black security guard making $10 an hour to work a Kenny Chesney concert. Cooper wasn't just racially demeaning, he was picking on a powerless guy too.  

As for your question, I can't speak for Riley Cooper personally, but my guess is he'd much rather be charged with assault or battery in a bar fight. That seems like a no brainer. No one would have even blinked if he'd been arrested for fighting outside a bar. This happens all the time with athletes. He probably would have plead down the charge to a misdemeanor. The impact would have been negligible. A DUI is stupid and infinitely more dangerous than being a racist, but there's no doubt a DUI would have gotten him much less media attention. In fact, if Riley Cooper had gotten a DUI most of us wouldn't have even noticed. 

Go on down the list of crimes that Cooper could have been charged with that that we wouldn't notice. Most of them are preferable to being called a racist. Until you get to child sex abuse or possession of child pornography, dog fighting -- by the way, I don't agree, but dog fighting is one of the worst crimes you can commit in a modern media era, you would have thought Mike Vick was a serial killer the way this was covered -- or a murder charge. Barring these three charges just about any felony charge would have gotten infinitely less media attention than Cooper's slur. 

I mean, even sexual or domestic assault would have garnered less attention, which is just absurd. Don't believe me? On the same day Cooper's video surfaced former Tennessee Titan Jamie Harper was charged with domestic violence. We barely mentioned it on 3HL and it's gotten no attention in the city. Riley Cooper wasn't a big name NFL star so he could have committed most crimes without garnering much attention.  

I mean think about this, Cooper would have faced less societal condemnation for being charged with domestic assault -- and probably sexual assault -- than he has for yelling a racial slur.

That's crazy. 

I'm not defending racism in any way -- it's awful, ignorant, and intellectually lazy to judge anyone based on their racial or ethnic background -- but is it really the worst thing you can do in life other than child sex abuse or murder? 

It's really kind of ridiculous to put using a racial slur in that same category isn't it? 

Somewhere along the way we've created a society where being a racist on some level -- which Cooper is -- is worse than being an actual criminal who has physically injured someone.

Isn't that a litlte bit out of whack no matter what racial background you are?

It's also worth noting that Cooper isn't exactly a powerful guy, he's a 25 year old player on a football team. He makes no hiring or firing decisions. Indeed, he could be fired at any moment. Racism's a pernicious and often silent evil, there's no doubt about that, but this isn't an example of a white person running a company and systemically discriminating against another race.

This is an example of a stupid white person insulting a single individual based on his race.

Right now white people need to stop with the black people use the word all the time too. That might fly if Cooper had been trying to be cool and used the word in a positive manner. He didn't. He used it as a racial slur. He knew exactly what he was doing.  

Lots of people blame the liberal media for giving more attention to stories like these than they deserve, but I think white people drive an awful lot of this coverage too. That's because being called a racist is the single worst thing you can say about a white person in today's American society.

It's the scarlet R.

Every white person cringed when they saw Riley Cooper's video. 

Being called a racist is most white people's biggest fear.  

These stories grow because other white people rip on racist white people as much or more than black people do in situations like these. Why? Because it's an opportunity for white people to distance themselves from white racism. It's why these stories snowball. 

Finally, props to Mike Vick -- who as I said before I think was drastically overpenalized for dogfighting -- for defusing this situation with a great deal of eloquence. Within a couple of hours of this story breaking Marcus Vick was tweeting all sorts of ridiculous threats to Riley Cooper and this story was a powder keg waiting to explode.


Vick talked to the media, smoothly defused the situation while speaking to the media, and later tweeted this, "Riley's my friend Our relationship is mutual respect. He looked me in the eyes and apologized. I believe in forgiveness and I believe in him." 

Athletes get a lot of grief for saying the wrong thing, but I don't know that anyone could be more succinct and powerful about an emotionally charged issue than this.

Well done, Mike Vick.  


Now that we've had a serious mailbag question, let's all pause and regardless of our racial, ethnic, or religious differences, laugh at this Alabama fan's tattoo. 

There, don't you all feel better?

Josh writes:

"Since there are so many wedding questions on the mailbag, I figured you may be the right person to turn to for help with my issue. I recently got engaged, and am now in the process of planning the wedding.  My fiancée is all over me to "have an opinion" on the wedding.  The areas I do have an opinion are very strong: No fall wedding (we were both UGA grads and I would probably skip my own wedding if it was on a gameday) and an open bar at the reception; that's about it.  However, she expects me to have an opinion on just about everything, from the venue, to the music, to the food, to the decoration.  It always upsets her that "I'm not showing interest" when I just want her to decide on these things, and this is with our wedding still over a year out!  Is the entire process going to be like this, and if so, do you have any suggestions on how to fake this interest my fiancee is expecting me to show?"

This is an important lesson for all women reading the mailbag right now. (And believe it or not there are a ton of them). 




Really, we don't. 

And our lack of caring about wedding details is in no way a slight to you. In fact, quite the opposite. We want you to pick out your ideal wedding. If you want our help -- give us several discrete tasks to take control of -- just like the ones our emailer did above -- after that it's your call. 

We promise that we will not criticize any of your decisions. You make the call on what the wedding invitations should look like and whether or not there are butterflies released after we say I do. If we were experts on decorating wedding halls and cake tasting, you wouldn't want to marry us. So just decide yourself.  

I was lucky here because I got married two weeks after the bar exam. I spent the entire summer getting ready for the bar while my wife handled just about every wedding detail. And she did a flawless job. You know why?Because she'd been thinking about exactly what she wanted her wedding to be like for a long time. Since way before she met me. 

Most men haven't given very much thought to our weddings at all. 

If every woman just recognized this it would eliminate a great deal of the bridezilla stress.

Ladies, you got this.

We love you, we just really don't care what color the flower centerpieces are.  

Chris S. writes:

"After seeing Hunter Mahan withdraw from the Canadian Open with a legit shot to win a million dollars to be with his wife as she delivered their child, it raised a perfect mailbag question. How much money has to be involved for the average male to miss the birth of his child? What events are/would be acceptable for a man to miss the birth of his child?"

Above my bathroom mirror I have a picture of a soldier hugging his baby while his wife sits beside him. He's about to be deployed overseas for a very long time and when he returns his daughter will be much bigger and he'll miss those months of her life. He has no choice. I look at this picture every morning while I brush my teeth to remind myself that I have it pretty damn good. And also to remind myself that lots of people have infinitely more difficult life situations than I do. Perspective is important no matter what you do in life. 

I was there for the birth of both my boys and it was an extraordinary experience to see them take their first breaths and be shoved to the side of the room by nurses who weighed about 100 pounds but could hip check you like Barkley in his prime. With what I do, I can't imagine anything in life that would have made me miss their births. No, honey, I can't make it, I've got to make another dick joke in the mailbag. Gotta finish this radio show and...those aren't flying. 

Fact is, most of our jobs aren't that important so it's an easy decision. 

I would have made Mahan's decision too. But the real golfing test would have been if Mahan was leading the Masters by four strokes on Sunday and he'd been woken up at six in the morning by a pregnant wife who was near delivery. 

Then what do you do?

Because a Canadian Open lead headed into the weekend is one thing, but do you bail on the Masters with a very good chance of winning? What if you were a starting quarterback in the Super Bowl and your wife went into labor on the day of the game? Do you bail on the Super Bowl? Game seven of the NBA Finals or the World Series?

Now those would be tough calls for an athlete.

Outside of athletics or being overseas in the military or something like that, I can't really imagine anyone with a job that they truly can't miss.

You've got to be there.  

"John" writes:

"Clay, please just use my alias name which we'll say is John. My brother in law is getting married next Saturday to a woman he has known eight months. She comes from a lot of money and this wedding seems like a scene out of bridesmaids more than a traditional southern wedding. I seriously thought a damn butterfly was going to come out of our invitation when we got it. Anyways last night I was informed by my wife that there will be a live broadcast of the wedding for all the other people who don't care to watch it live. Am I obligated to go?" 

Yes, you are obligated to go because your wife will kill you if you don't. (Unless your wife is fine with you watching the wedding on a video. Which you totally won't do anyway. You'll be looking at porn or reading Outkick). 

The only way out of this I can see for you would be if your wife's family has like ten kids and there are so many in-laws that no one will notice your absence or if you have young kids and the wedding requires a long distance trip and you stay behind with the kids by yourself. (But that's worse than going to the wedding, isn't it?) But presumably your wife is not going to skip her own brother's wedding and if she's going then you've pretty much got to be there or you look like the awful in-law.

Having been the awful in-law in the mind of my mother-in-law for several years -- until another in-law got divorced, we had kids, and I started making good money upon which time I magically became an extraordinary in-law -- you don't want to antagonize your mother-in-law. She probably hates you anyway. This just gives her a legitimate reason to hate you. 

By the way, streaming your wedding? Gag me. Unless you have family overseas that can't attend and must see it live, this is pretty much awful.

I hate to break it to you, but outside of your immediate family no one really cares that much about your wedding.

I'm sorry, we just don't. We'll come to your wedding and have a good time there and pretend that we really care a great deal, but we really don't. In fact, if we could just hang out with you and not have to get dressed up fancy to do it, we'd infinitely prefer to do that. There isn't a man alive who, given the choice, wouldn't prefer you got married in five minutes under a tailgate tent four hours before kickoff. Bang, that's it, let's drink.   

Adam writes:


"I have a very OCD system to determine which polo I wear to UGA games.  I rank each game, one through twelve, at the start of the season.  I wear a red polo to the 3 biggest games, a white or black polo to games ranked 4 through 9, and a tee shirt to games ranked in the bottom 3.  I use the AP poll as a base for rankings and give added value to rivalry games and detract value for non-conference games.

I am completely torn on how to categorize the opening Clemson game. Should I treat it as any other non-conference game or not subtract any value from it, given the spotlight that will surround the game opening weekend?  Your advice is much appreciated."

You're right, that's incredibly OCD.

Okay, here's my breakdown for you. I think Clemson is the fourth "biggest" game on the schedule this year. Here are my rankings of the games in order 1-12 if I was a Georgia fan, You might be saying I'm ranking Georgia Tech too low, but that game is out of the SEC and is nowhere near as big nationally as Clemson: 

Red polo: Florida, South Carolina, LSU

White or Black polo: Clemson, Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Vandy (anti-Franklin factor) 

T-shirt: Missouri, Kentucky, North Texas, Appalachian State 

Good luck.