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If he were available, should the 49ers sign Riley Cooper?

Leading Off: 49ers need receivers; what about Cooper?

Published: Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 - 4:22 pm

If he becomes available, should the 49ers try to sign embattled Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, who was caught on camera using the N-word during a Kenny Chesney concert this summer?

Cooper likely would welcome a new start with a new team. The 49ers are hurting at the wide receiver position and could use a veteran like Cooper.

Despite his apologies, Cooper reportedly felt enough heat in the locker room to take a leave of absence, and there are doubts about his future with the team – if not the NFL.

In no way is this a defense of what he said, but Cooper isn't the first 25-year-old with a beer bottle in his hand to do or say the wrong thing.

Most of us wish we could go back to our youthful days to save ourselves – and those close to us – from embarrassment, hurtful comments, if not worse.

Just last January, 24-year-old Chris Culliver – we're assuming sane and sober – was quoted as saying the 49ers' locker room was no place for gays. If there were gay players among the 49ers, "They gotta get up out of here if they do," Culliver said.

The cornerback's comments were outrageous and hurtful, especially considering the vast numbers of Bay Area and Northern California gays and lesbians, including many who support the 49ers.

It was not enough to keep Culliver from playing in the Super Bowl.

But the fact that most NFL locker rooms have a majority of black players makes Cooper's return to the Eagles – or any team – questionable.

NFL players have committed crimes and were welcomed back into the league. Is one regrettable comment enough to keep Cooper from playing in the NFL again?

Sometimes sorry isn't enough.

Today's poll

If he were available, should the 49ers sign Riley Cooper?

• Yes, everybody deserves a second chance.

• No, he's not worth the trouble.

Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field; or go to

Weekend poll results

Which quarterback will finish with a better rating in 2013?

• Alex Smith: 31%

• Colin Kaepernick: 69%

Total votes: 621

Call The Bee's Victor Contreras, (916) 326-5527. Follow him on Twitter @SacBeeVictor.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Victor Contreras


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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