Lots of Philadelphians are having trouble with Chip Kelly's massive overhaul of the Eagles, and so, too, is cohost of ESPN's First Take, Stephen A. Smith. But for Smith, most of that trouble comes back to decisions of Kelly's that may have historically left "a few brothers feeling uncomfortable."
"Chip Kelly makes decisions over the last couple years," Smith said, "that, dare I say, leave a few brothers feeling uncomfortable."
"You can say that," agreed cohost Skip Bayless, who continued to agree throughout the segment.
Smith, a former Inquirer sports columnist, then went on to insinuate further that Kelly's shakeup of the Eagles is, at least in part, racially motivated, especially considering that Riley Cooper remains on the team while black players like Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson were all removed from the Eagles roster. Cooper famously claimed he would "fight every n----- here" at a 2013 Kenny Chesney concert.
"Now, I'm not saying I know," Smith clarified. "I'm just going to say that it does strike me as a tad bit odd. I'm gonna repeat this. Gone: LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, you know, DeSean jackson. Staying: Riley Cooper."
McCoy, it should be noted, was traded for Kiko Alonso, who is of Latino decent. Similarly, Kelly also released Caucasian team members, including Todd Herremans and James Casey. And, what's more, Kelly is adding free agents Byron Maxwell and Frank Gore, both African American. In that sense, it doesn't look like Kelly's insinuated dream of an all-white Eagles roster is coming to fruition any time soon.
Maclin, for his part, received a $9 million a year offer, which didn't meet his $11 million-per-year needs. In that sense, Maclin's free agency is probably most attributable to money rather than race. Or, as Crossing Broad puts it, "Maclin is gone because Andy Reid decided he would overpay him."
It should also be noted, however, that Smith never directly accuses Kelly of being a racist, or using racist logic to make decisions about his football team. Rather, it's just strongly suggested.
Which, of course, is the best First Take can do. Proof seems tough to come by on this one. Smith's full rant is below:
"Chip Kelly makes decisions over the last couple of years that, dare I say, leave a few brothers feeling uncomfortable. I think that's fair to say. We're sitting here looking at some of the decisions that Chip Kelly makes and I'm like, 'What is up … what's up with that?'
It's like, you've got to be his kinda guy, you know? And when Riley Cooper's your kind of guy … Let's get beyond the system though. The operative word is culture. The culture is what resonates with me more profoundly because I'm looking at Chip Kelly and I'm like,'Really?'
I mean, this is Philadelphia. I'm always in Philly, and I'm telling you right now you've got people walking the streets and, to hell with it, you got brothers walking the streets going like, 'What's up with Chip? I don't understand this.'
Now, I'm not saying I know. I'm just gonna say that it does strike me as a tad bit odd. I'm gonna repeat this. Gone: LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, you know, DeSean Jackson. Staying: Riley Cooper."