THE Eagles franchise has made news for the third year in a row over the notion of racism. Of all the things the national media could choose to talk about surrounding our team, this is what they chose to focus on last week. Former Eagles CB Brandon Boykin (the “source” of this latest story), had to clarify an earlier statement that the press ran with, billing it as an accusation of racism against the Eagles current head coach.
The press practically invented the story; but once Boykin had clarified his statement, the national media merely shrugged its collective shoulders and went elsewhere looking for
blood a story. No retraction. No apology to the team. The story was dismissed and they moved on.
However, here amongst Eagles fans, the issue didn’t drop so readily. Fans debated (in some cases hotly) about whether or not the coach is in fact a racist. Some fans feel that there’s enough evidence to say that the claims against the coach are true. Other fans defend him vehemently and say that he’s not at all a racist.
This has had the effect of sharply dividing the fan base. That divide (as you could predict) is generally drawn along racial lines. These are some quotes from one of over a dozen Facebook Eagles groups (this one is BirdGang Bangers) that I’m a proud member of. This is just a sample of what I’m seeing:
In all truth it really doesn’t matter what the coach believes in his heart. It’s actually 100% beside the point. Look, even if the coach is a racist, it changes nothing. He’ll still be the coach until he quits or until the team fires him. Does it matter if he invites no Blacks to his home poker table, or Puerto Ricans to his B-B-Q’s? No, it really doesn’t. It’s not like we were keeping tabs on it last year, so let’s not pretend it matters to us now.
What’s truly disconcerting (and this is what BGBer Jason Holman up there was getting at), is the fact that the Eagles organization has in no way, shape, or form come out to address any of this, acting like it will blow over. While it may lie dormant for a season, it seems to take less and less to drag it back up. This now annual smear on the team allows for every offhand comment about the Eagles to be given immediate national attention, so long as it’s tied to race.
Think about it. Riley Cooper using the word ‘nigger’. LeSean McCoy suggesting that his trading was racially motivated. Boykin’s offhand comment. Each of these incidents is less inflammatory than the last, yet the national media flocked to each successive one faster than they did the one before.
When it’s found to be nothing, we get no apology. No retraction. The nation just hears “Oh yeah, the Eagles are bigots” and then the story just drops for a bigger one; leaving behind yet another uncorrected and mistaken impression of this team.
And I’m sorry to break this to you, but who roots for bigots except other bigots? That means us, fellow Eagles fans. While most of us may not be bigots, our nation is getting a more and more warped view of who our team and who our fans are.
I hate to say this, but the Eagles organization is doing us no favors by not publicly weighing in on this issue. In the meantime, we fans rip at each other; either in defense of what we don’t know, or in the process of not getting to the bottom of a meaningless question. That meaningless question being: Is the coach a racist?
Whether or not the head coach likes minorities is beside the point. Halting the smear of shit being dragged across the reputation of the organization, the team and the fans, is what should be of utmost importance here. We’ve been on this ride for three years now. Enough is enough.
(I want to give thanks and much respect for BGB members Jason Holman, Damen Jeffery, and Antonio Soto for allowing me to use their quotes in this article. Without your help this article isn’t possible. Thank you.)