(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
Everyone seems to love it when big shot sports stars show up at big shot country stars’ shows. Except when things go wrong, as they did in June when the Philadelphia Eagles’ wide receiver Riley Cooper attended Kenny Chesney’s concert at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field and then got into a fight. And then made some angry racial slurs that someone caught on video and posted on the Internet. Chesney had no part in any of it, but he told ESPN how bad he thought that kind of language was.
“I’m as shocked as anyone to see the video of Riley Cooper that’s started circulating on the Internet,” Chesney said. “I don’t believe in discrimination in any form, and I think using language like that is not only unacceptable, it is hateful beyond words. I don’t know everything about every player who comes to our shows. We invite the teams in the places where we play, and I’ve found the guys from the NFL are some of the most inspiring people I meet all year. They give back to their communities, work with children, hospitals and various charities, as well as raising awesome families.”
But Chesney doesn’t want the actions of one person to overshadow the behavior of those who were at the concert for all the right reasons.
“To judge an entire audience by one loudmouth isn’t fair … not to the NFL, not to the city of Philadelphia and that awesome crowd, not to my band and crew and certainly not to me, who believes music is about bringing people together for friendship and forgetting about the things in life that bring you down. The music I make is about living life, loving life and loving everybody — no matter who they are. That’s how I was raised, and what someone else does or says doesn’t reflect who I am or what my fans stand for.”
The Eagles management announced Friday (Aug. 2) that Cooper has been excused from all team activities as he seeks counseling. As a result, he won’t be attending team practice or meetings for an indefinite period of time.