In case you missed it, wide receiver Riley Cooper is the featured athlete for February 2015 on the Philadelphia Eagles' official calendar.
Big deal, right? Yes, it is. Turns out February is Black History Month and Cooper is a white guy (funny thing - not many white guys are in the elite category at the wide receiver position). But a few years ago Cooper made a racial slur at an outdoor Kenny Chesney concert that went viral - something about wanting to 'fight every nigger here'. Cooper quickly apologized, was fined by the Eagles, and (presumably) made peace with his African-American teammates.
Still, eyebrows were raised when the 2015 calendar made its appearance with Cooper showing up on the February page.
Here is what the Eagles said about the mistake:
We do not oversee the production of the annual team calendar. We do not provide any input about the players who are featured or where those pictures appear in the calendar. The NFL licenses the production of that calendar to a third party and we do not have an opportunity to review the material. If anything, it was an honest mistake.”
What's done is done.
So why do I think that this isn't such a bad idea? Because seeing Riley Cooper gracing February 2015 serves to remind us all that no matter how far we've come in embracing civil rights and civility, there will always be people like Riley Cooper and the calendar designers around. And their presence indicates we still have work to do.
“Yeah, I love being famous. It's almost like being white, y'know?” ― Chris Rock