EARTH CITY, Mo. — The is-he-or-isn’t-he talk about Chip Kelly being a racist is thorny stuff.
A few black players who have been traded away — first LeSean McCoy, and most recently Brandon Boykin — have suggested the Philadelphia Eagles head coach might harbor some racist tendencies. But what about a white player Kelly shipped out of town?
The Eagles traded Nick Foles and two draft picks to the St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford and a future pick in one of the more interesting and unexpected offseason deals to go down. Foles showed immense potential in 2013 with a statistically stunning season with 27 TDs and two interceptions before leveling off in a middling 2014 season in Philly.
Now Foles is the Rams’ starting QB. He’s had time to think about Kelly and the accusations that he’s a racist, and he has some thoughts on what he saw in Kelly in his two years with him with the Eagles. The pressures of the job and the responsibilities, Foles believe, put head coaches — especially those with personnel control, a la Kelly — in tough spots where they’re forced to answer questions about almost every move that happens.
“Any time you’re a head coach, it’s difficult. Chip is trying to do what he does best,” Foles told Shutdown Corner. “He just has to make tough decisions. When I see guys there traded or released, it’s tough because I was with them.
“When Boykin was released the other day, I was surprised. I’m close with Boykin. He’s a good player who will definitely help the Steelers, so I was surprised to see the trade from that [perspective].”
Sensing some wavering on the question, I had to ask Foles again, more to the point: Do you have any reason to think Kelly is a racist?
“Well, you know, it’s one of those things where Chip’s got to do what he’s got to do. He’s got the power. I know this whole thing happened, but no, I don’t see anything like that,” Foles said. “It’s tough when you’re somewhere and a team lets you go; I get that part of it.
“But I had a great relationship with Chip, and I’ll leave it at that.”
That’s not the most convincing answer of all time to completely end any Kelly racism talk, and yet nor is it anything truly damning from Foles. But until more people come out with proof of Kelly being a racist, especially with Boykin feeling the need to “clarify” his initial comments and McCoy now avoiding the question when asked publicly, the talk feels a bit speculative and unfair for right now.
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