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Kenny Chesney Speaks Out About NFL Player Who Used Racial Slur

Kenny Chesney
Jason Kempin, Getty Images

Kenny Chesney has spoken out against Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, who was caught on video using a racial slur at Chesney’s concert in Philadelphia in June. In a statement to ESPN, Chesney said Cooper’s language was “hateful beyond words.”

In a video that leaked online Wednesday (July 31), Cooper is seen ranting at the concert, saying, “I will jump that fence and fight every n—–” at the show. According to various media reports, Cooper had been drinking and was upset because a security guard would not let him backstage.

Chesney says the remark goes against everything he stands for. “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,” he states.

Country Weekly reports that Cooper actually joined Chesney onstage at the concert to sing ‘The Boys of Fall,’ but that was before the singer knew of the incident. Chesney tells ESPN that he invites the players from the hometown teams where he plays, and he usually finds that NFL players are “some of the most inspiring people I meet all year.”

He hopes Cooper’s remarks won’t be seen as representative of anyone other than himself. “To judge an entire audience by one loud mouth 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,” Chesney states emphatically.

He adds, “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.”

Cooper has apologized for the remark, and received a fine from the NFL.

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