Banned just like Riley Cooper

My money says that Riley Cooper will never play another down in the National Football League.

After a cell phone video of the Philadelphia Eagles receiver dropping the “N-word” at a Kenney Chesney concert on June 9 came to light, there is no way he’ll play again.

The Eagles put the receiver on leave indefinitely, and it is only a matter of time before they cut him.

Whether it is fair or not, there is no way an NFL team is going sign him, or “bring him into the locker room” as the experts say.

Isn’t it silly, and maybe a little disconcerting, how much talk of the “locker room” these former players and so-called experts spew at us? Why not talk about the meeting rooms, sideline or field? It is always about the locker room.

Had Cooper made a slur about gays, Muslims, Hispanics, Native Americans, Italians or Jews, his career would probably survive the controversy. He would be welcomed into any locker room after a short media circus.

Cooper, though, used the mother off all words — and really seemed to mean it — at that concert, and he has become absolutely toxic because of it.

The best public relations experts in the world can’t get Cooper out of this mess.

Bill Clinton would have had to bomb China to divert attention from the scandal had he found himself in such a controversy. Serbia would not be nearly enough.

You could spend all day trying to defend Cooper and talk about how it was just a word that he might actually genuinely regret saying, but that would get you nowhere. Plus, it would make you look like a racist.

This is worse than Don Imus and the Rutgers women’s basketball team because Imus could — and did — plead ignorance. You might believe that out-of-touch old curmudgeon did not know that the term “nappy headed ho” could be considered an insult.

Cooper, who cannot make an ignorance plea, is in much hotter water.

This a very complicated mess Cooper found himself in, and he is on his own. There is not a long enough pole to touch that one with.

However, I can kind of sympathize with Cooper. It is not because I have ever dropped the big one while threatening to fight all the bouncers at a country music concert. It is because I, too, know what it is like to be banned for name calling.

Last year I was banned from the Scattered Rats Fantasy Football League for calling Joe Price a “lamp salesman.”

It does not matter that my name calling was in response to price calling me a lowly “$10 per hour sportswriter” — when I actually made $10.23 at the time, thank you very much. What matters is my words were cutting.

At least that is my best guess as to why I was booted from the league. It might be because I also offended one of Price’s pals from Vegas with some trash talk two years ago.

Maybe it is because I continually humiliated Scott Ferguson and Mark McCarthy on the smack talk board. It is really hard to say.

Calling Fergie an avid fantasy football player would be like calling Fergie an avid Boston Red Sox fan. It is a major understatement. That is to say, his life kind of revolves around it. He is on top of things when it comes to fantasy sports, which are basically Dungeons and Dragons for guys who can get a date.

So, this time last year, I asked Fergie a couple of times if there was going to be invited to play or if there was even going to be a league. Both times he was caught off guard. “Um, I don’t know. I’ll check on it and get back to you.” Then he never got back to me.

When I saw league member J.P. Gallagher at a football game I asked him if he was playing in the Scattered Rats league. J.P. acted like I just asked him where his secret fishing hole was located.

He just muttered a bunch of “ums and ahs” before changing the subject.

Fergie insists that there was no league last year, as if I am supposed to believe a guy who puts fantasy football above his wife and children is just going to let that slide without knowing what is going on.

Commissioner Bart Black just got lazy and did not put the league together, Fergie says. Anyone who remembers Black’s Mohawk during his Butte High basketball career in the 1980s to know it is not possible.

Any person who puts that much work into his hair is not lazy.

I have come to terms with the ban I received. I am not going to apply for reinstatement, and I am not going to sit outside the Scattered Rats draft and sign autographs like I am Pete Rose.

Instead, I am going to take my ball and go home. Eric Cartman style.

This fall will see the inaugural season of the Tap ‘er Light Fantasy Football League, and I am inviting you to play.

Well, actually, I am inviting you to apply for a spot in the league. We do not want just anybody joining the league.

Send me an email to if you are interested in playing. Drop me a line as to why you think you belong in the league and maybe I will send you the password to join.

Also, let me know what your team name will be. If your name is lame, you are not getting in.

Fergie owns the all-time best name for a fantasy team, “The Asses of Badness.”  In the past, I was very proud of my “Cans of Whoopass.” This year, though, I’m going with “The Awful Knofels.” Not be, eh?

The winner of the league will win the Little Cup, a traveling trophy named after Frank Little. No, the Cup is not named after the legendary union organized who was murdered by company goons.

The Little Cup is named after Frank Little of the Butte High class of 1998. Good guy.

In the Tap ‘er Light FFL, we do not want people who cannot handle some deep-cutting insults on the smack talk. We also do not want people afraid to dish out horrific insults.

We do not want anybody afraid to make a major trade, and we certainly do not want anybody who will stop paying attention to his or her roster after finishing the first four weeks at 0-4.

Above all, we do not want any lamp salesmen.

— Sportswriter Bill Foley, who, as coincidence has it, is in the market for a new set of lamps, writes a column that appears on on Tuesdays. Email him at Follow him at 1 comment

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1 Comment

  • Yo Chi Boy
    August 6, 2013, 8:05 pm

    I believe you may be wrong here and here is why:
    He would have a serious legal case, because what he did is NOT illegal. His legal team could easily put together a case of the word being used by persons who are alleged to not like the word. He also could cite Mike Vick, Ray Lewis, and Ben Rothlesrapist as persons who are in the league having either been convicted, charged, or questioned regarding actual felonious acts. If they blackball him he would have a huge civil case and he would win going away. They can’t take that risk. Despite his stupidity, racism goes in all directions and the fact that the NFL allows criminals to play and he is in fact a non criminal would only allow him more of a case to win.


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