It’s not uncommon for a player to harbor ill-will toward a coach who trades him or doesn’t re-sign him, but LeSean McCoy has taken it a step further, essentially calling Chip Kelly a racist.
McCoy recently said that his relationship with Kelly “was never really great” and that Kelly “got rid of all the good players, especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest. That’s the truth. There’s a reason.”
That’s quite a claim. How much credence should we give it?
“I don’t think there’s any credence to it, to be honest with you,” former Eagle and current Philadelphia radio host Ike Reese said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I think what sort of got lost in translation or what I think Shady was really trying to imply – and I don’t want to put words in his mouth – but he did a sit-down with a writer down here in Philadelphia, and he talked about how Chip Kelly seems to have a problem with star players. Players that speak their mind, players with personalities – things you have at the pro level. That I can buy, to a certain degree.
“But the whole racial bias, I just can’t buy any of that,” Reese continued. “Chip has been a coach far too long at the collegiate level, at the pro level. He’s had too much success with African-American players that, if there was any racial bias there, I would think players would have a hard time performing for a coach like that. He doesn’t seem to have a hard time either in college recruiting guys or free agency to get guys to come here and play for him and play for him well. So I can’t buy into it, but I’m also not in the locker room, and I haven’t played for Chip Kelly.”
As Brandon Tierney observed, whenever a statement like this is made, both black people and white people tend to gravitate toward their side of the aisle, sometimes without actual knowledge of the facts. What is the pulse of the fan base in Philly right now?
“You’re exactly right,” Reese said. “That’s what I’m always in fear of when things like this arise. You basically split a fan base and people are going to go and support people that they can identify with, often without having all the information or any real details about the circumstances that we’re trying to deal with. And in this case, I must admit you do have a small portion of the fan base that wants to find a way to understand Shady’s point of view here – and may even side with him – just because Chip Kelly has gotten rid of players that happen to be African-American.”
Such as DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy.
“You’re talking about three of the best players this organization has had for the last decade that are no longer here,” Reese said. “And it doesn’t seem like it’s because of production on the field because all of them have had great years over the past two years, but none of them are here. Then you take the Riley Cooper situation. Chip speaks a lot about character over scheme and he’s trying to build a culture here. Well, players will buy into that if you’re consistent. But when you have a situation like Riley had a couple years ago, you decide to keep him here, (and then) you re-sign him when you had a chance to move on from him.
“Well, that sends a mixed message to your locker room when your locker room is 70 percent to 65 percent African-American or minority. There’s going to be questions – whether they’re publicly or they’re amongst (players on the team) – well, what type of culture are we trying to build here? What’s your definition of culture guys? Why is this guy someone that you’re willing to stick your neck out for and keep here, whereas a guy like DeSean Jackson or Shady McCoy – who can be outspoken, who can be flamboyant at times – for some reason don’t seem to fit your culture?”
McCoy was apparently not happy that Cooper was allowed to remain a member of the Eagles. When that decision was made, though, McCoy didn’t really know what to do about it, especially when Michael Vick and others were on board with it.
“When your leaders are trying to move on for the betterment of the team, what are you going to do?” Reese asked. “You’re going to continue to speak out about this and voice your displeasure over it? Then you become the pariah. Then you become the guy that’s not team-oriented. Then you’re the issue.
“That being said, I think that’s a crutch to lean on in this situation,” Reese continued. “This, in my opinion, is more about Shady being upset. He’s a star player, he’s the all-time leading rusher here, he wanted to remain being an Eagle and he’s no longer an Eagle. So he’s still upset about that and he’s having a hard time trying to rationalize why he’s not an Eagle and why he is in Buffalo.
“So he’s grasping at stuff to try to justify why he’s not here, and he’s not looking at the financial ramifications of what it was to have someone making the salary that he was making here on top of his style of running in this offense that he and Chip didn’t see eye-to-eye about. (McCoy is also) a guy who carries a lot of weight in the locker room. The coach may be in fear that he’s going to undermine his authority and undermine the type of culture he’s trying to bring here.
“So there are several factors that play into this scenario with Shady being traded, and in my opinion, none of them have anything to do with Shady being a black player.”