It’s been a pretty action-packed offseason for Chip Kelly. He got rid of a bunch of players, he signed a bunch of players, and somewhere in between all of that, he was called racist by LeSean McCoy.
Aside from that, though, it was pretty chill!
In all seriousness, what do we make of McCoy’s comments? CBS Sports Radio decided to ask someone who has known Kelly for almost 25 years.
“I go back – way back – with Chip Kelly,” ESPN NFL analyst Marcellus Wiley said on Tiki and Tierney. “He actually recruited me out of high school to go to Columbia, where he started. And from there, he obviously went on to greatness at Oregon and now the Eagles. The thing about Chip Kelly is he believes in himself. He believes in his philosophy. He’s a man with a plan, and you got to respect that – because even Monte Kiffin said a coach without a philosophy is not leading any man anywhere. You got to respect that he does know what he wants to do. It’s going to take some time, some patience, but it’s (been) successful so far. Not championship success, but certainly putting up 10-6 records – winning records – in the first couple of years is something to applaud. What happens going forward is interesting because does this galvanize a team, everyone knowing that they lost a few stars under controversy? Do those players come back and say us against the world and they rally around Chip? Or is there some resentment there and as soon as things start to go bad, people will start to doubt themselves because they will doubt their coach? So it’s going to be interesting to see what the tipping point for this team because it could go hugely right for them and it could also go awfully wrong for them.”
Whatever happens, Wiley knew McCoy was off-base as soon as those words left his mouth.
“I knew it was complete nonsense,” Wiley said. “I know Shady as well. I think what he was talking from was an emotional place that a lot of us haven’t been through. Obviously he was disgruntled by being traded, not happy that he wasn’t allowed to stay there. He was also unhappy a little bit about last year. He started off slow and started to gain steam in the middle to later part of the season, but that wasn’t the rebound season he wanted from obviously two years ago when he had greatness. So I think a culmination of all those elements made him lash out at Chip Kelly unnecessarily. Because Chip Kelly has not shown to be a racist coach. As a matter of fact, you trade LeSean McCoy but you bring in DeMarco Murray. Last time I checked, he’s black also. So if it’s really about that, there’s really no evidence to support it.
“In all my personal interactions with him – going way back to 1991 when I’m talking to him on the phone getting the opportunity to meet him – he never showed a card that was going to be the race card,” Wiley continued. “I thought (McCoy’s comment) was unfortunate. I thought it detoured what the real storyline was – that this is a coach that believes in a certain system. He likes a certain type of player. He wants that talented player to also show some mental, emotional talent – not just physical production – and he wants that guy to buy into his culture and his climate. I know (that) . . . when not everything about you is buying into what Chip Kelly is professing, there’s going to be a problem.”