The name Chip Kelly has been headline news for weeks now. Does Chip Kelly have a race problem? Is he looking to change the culture of the NFL?
Everybody seems to have an opinion on Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly and how he relates to his players. The problem is not everybody has coached in both the NFL and at the highest levels of the NCAA. Does that make their opinion any less than another? Do you have to be a national expert to weigh in on what you think goes on inside the mind of Chip?
Let me start of by saying I am a Chip believer. Now, this is not to say I am fully engulfed in all of his methods, but instead to be meant as an explanation of why I think his methods can work. Chip Kelly is not trying to reinvent the NFL. Instead, he is just trying to implement his system that was successful in the College ranks. We are talking about a head coach who has taken the NFL by storm with 20 wins in his first 2 years in charge. This is something that is not easy to accomplish.
His first two years have been interesting, but nothing can compare to the beginning of year three. A year where we have seen a major overhaul of an already talented roster and a few moves that have left everyone hoping Chip isn’t still reliving his day as a fantasy football genius. There are many reasons to call him crazy or disoriented for some of his off-season moves, but to label him a racist is something I have a hard time agreeing with.
We have already seen the arguments and comments regarding Desean Jackson and Lesean McCoy, but now we are dealing with the departure of Brandon Boykin. Let’s face it, Desean Jackson is a player with extraordinary talent, but wasn’t worth the baggage he came with in the eyes of Chip. All you need to do is take a glimpse at his latest reality show to see his true colors. Next up Lesean McCoy and an all out twitter invitation to attend a ladies only private party. Hmm…I think I am just going to leave it at that. Lesean was the one who got the whole racist debate going and from there it has grown into a national phenomenon. These are two guys in their prime that posses exceptional talent, but they weren’t the type of teammates Chip wanted for his future roster.
The latest was Nickel corner Brandon Boykin who has been traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional 4th or 5th round draft choice. After the news broke the he had been traded, he reacted by insinuating that this was another racist move. However, he later redefined his comments by saying, “I’m not saying he’s a racist at all. That’s not what I said. When you’re a player you want to be able to relate to your coach,” Boykin said. No matter what the issue is, outside of football. When not talking football scheme, I want to be able to sit there and talk to you about whatever. There were times where he just wouldn’t talk to people. You would walk down the hallway and he wouldn’t say anything to you. I don’t know what that is. I’m not saying he’s a racist in anyway. As a player, I just wanted to be able to relate to my coach a little bit better.”
So now it seems that Chip Kelly is probably not a racist, but instead disconnected or socially awkward. If this is indeed the case, will this have a negative effect on the locker room? Will any of this matter if this team will be successful?
My whole stance on the issue is that I find it hard to believe we would have a racist Head Coach in the NFL in the year 2015. Do I think it could be possible if kept under wraps? Sure! However, I do not think this is the case with Chip, but do feel this issue would not have as many legs if Riley Cooper was not a part of this team. It is really hard to get behind a move that paid a barley average Caucasian receiver a lucrative contract after the he blurted out the words heard around the world and disrespected the African American community. Did he repent? Yes he did. But the reason to go above and beyond to keep him on the roster continues to be a head scratcher. Was Chip trying to act as a players coach and show he was sympathetic? Either way it wasn’t a smart PR move or one that could have made this situation somewhat avoidable.
As I continue to look at the entire landscape, there is very little doubt that these are all culture based moves to bring the roster up to his level. He is taking all of the heat for these moves and will be on the hot seat if they do not pan out. Chip Kelly came to the NFL to prove his system and methods could work at this level. Time will only tell if he will be a mainstay in the NFL coaching ranks or if he will go back to College in order to rebuild his prestige!
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