PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 2, 2013 — State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams today issued the following statement in reaction to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper’s controversial remark, which was made public this week:
“The set of circumstances surrounding Riley Cooper is, obviously, disrespectful and hurtful to the community from which I come: African Americans and people of color who have suffered a legacy of discrimination in these words.
“But, it also presents an opportunity for the larger community to understand, beyond Riley Copper individually, that we have levels of responsibility.
“I’m particularly struck by the fact that on this team that has Michael Vick – a guy who has had his own set of circumstances – he has forgiven Riley Cooper.
“For those who thought Vick should have been run out of town, I would expect they would have a similar disdain for the comments made by Riley Cooper and vocalize those. But, equally as compelling, I would expect the African-American community, the people-of-color community, and progressive community that thought Michael Vick should have a second chance should also consider Riley Cooper in that same vein.
“I don’t expect that young men in that locker room – who are young men and teammates – should be the moral compass of a society, city or community. That comes from us, who are leaders.
“The individual who used the word holds sole responsibility for saying it. There’s also a context in which some members of the African-American community should consider their perspective of their own use of the word.
“That word bears no positive relevance in today’s society,” Williams said.