There has been a whole bunch of backlash after a video of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper using a racial slur surfaced. It led to him being fined, removed from the team to seek treatment and a divided locker room.
One locker room however isn’t so divided by racial slurs, in fact they use it as ‘pet names’ or nick names. At least teammates Louis Delmas (black) and Tony Scheffler (white) do.
From Detroit News:
“Hey, cracker,” Delmas often says to Scheffler inside the Lions practice facility.
“How’s my n—–?” Scheffler replies.
That could be what makes the line so difficult to define. In some areas it is apparently ok, and in other situations it isn’t. Scheffler doesn’t get the same kind of response Cooper did. It is important to note that Scheffler said it to a teammate and friend in a friendly banter, where as Cooper yelled it in a drunken and angry rage. There is a difference right there.
But why is it ok for Scheffler to use?
“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.”
The two have a bond, they both played at Western Michigan University together and Scheffler took the younger Delmas under his wing in college. Scheffler was a senior when Delmas came on campus.
“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.”
Delmas tried to explain how their situation is different from Riley Cooper’s.
“My teammates understand me,” Delmas said. “They call me n—– all the time. We have a bond that can’t be broken. And the minute you let that bond get outside this organization and you use that word outside this building, then you need to look yourself in the mirror and address it. The way the public blew up the (Cooper) situation, it should be blown up that way because he needs to learn a lesson. You can’t say that. You will never see me going outside the building calling someone cracker. You can’t do that.”
Scheffler just shrugged when Terry Foster of the Detroit News asked him how he feels about being called racially insensitive names by black teammates.
“We are a great team and have a great team bond,” he said. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time you shrug it off for the sake of the team. You put the blinders on and move forward. We are all grown men. We understand what we are here for. Things like that you try not to allow them to get in the way. It is part of life and it is part of the workplace.”
“I would not say it happens all the time, but you’ve got guys with so many different backgrounds. People get offended. You have to stick to your core values, and as long as you are good with yourself and can look yourself in the mirror and are good with what goes on, then it kind of washes away.”