After Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper was caught on camera using the N-word in a derogatory way at a Kenny Chesney concert, he was excused from the team for a few days to receiver counseling. Cooper’s comments set off a wave of discussion about the use of the word and whether or not he would ever truly be accepted by his fellow African American teammates.
While Cooper’s use of the N-word was supposed to demean those around him, two Detroit Lions players say they use similar words as a way of showing affection towards one another.
According to the Detroit News, white tight end Tony Scheffler and black safety Louis Delmas, who have been friends since their time together at Western Michigan, use derogatory comments to show their friendship towards one another.
According to the report, Delmas often greets Scheffler with “Hey, cracker,” and Scheffler replies, “How’s my n—–?”.
Despite the use of the same derogatory word, Delmas says while Cooper deserves all of the negative attention he is receiving, Scheffler is using the term in different circumstances.
“Me and [Scheffler] have a relationship many people do not have — both black and white,” Delmas said. “I look at him like my brother. I love him to death. He greets me, ‘What up, n—–?’ But I understand it. So I say, ‘What’s up, cracker?’ But we would never take it outside the building.”
Scheffler added that the pair call each other derogatory names as a sign of affection towards one another.
“I treat Louis like a little brother,” Scheffler said. “He knows my wife and kids. He calls me ‘white boy’ and ‘cracker.’ We go back and forth with it and we are both comfortable with each other. I can’t say the same with other relationships in the locker room or how other guys would feel about it. So it is a tough dynamic when you are using those types of words. Everybody does not react the same.”
Something tells me this story is going to add more fuel to the fire about the use of derogatory comments in America.