Right after the Eagles and Chip Kelly decided to trade CB Brandon Boykin to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the three-year pro, drafted by Andy Reid in 2012, had some choice words for the head coach and de facto general manager. He said Kelly was, “uncomfortable around grown men of our culture.” Conducting damage control, he later revised and clarified his remarks claiming, “I’m not saying he’s a racist in any way.”
In fact, to dive into it more, Boykin said, which was reported on ESPN, “When you’re a player, you want to be able to relate to your coach off the field. There were times he just didn’t talk to people. You would walk down the hallway, he wouldn’t say anything to you. I’m not saying he’s a racist in any way.”
First off, Brandon, you initially implied it. However, Boykin as we know isn’t the first player traded to make these kind of racial comments about Kelly. Of course, there were comments that came from former RB LeSean McCoy who never back-tracked his racially motivated public statements about Kelly like Boykin has. Tra Thomas made his remarks. And television and radio personality Stephen A. Smith has stood by his questioning of Kelly’s racial motivations. Frankly, this kind of discussion is getting ridiculous.
However, what’s important that we concentrate on are the cornerback’s clarified remarks and ask further questions about who Chip should be to his team based on his position(s)? Is he the head coach? Yes. And is he the de facto general manager? Yes. He’s inevitably making every coaching, business and contract decisions from a player personnel standpoint for the Philadelphia Eagles. Only Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots has the same authority and decision-making power that Kelly has in the NFL. My next and most critical question. Due to these positions, should he be everyone’s buddy and friend, too? That answer is, no. As a fan, that’s the last predicament I’d want Kelly in.
Hypothetically speaking, let’s say Kelly were to get chummy with his players during the course of their contracts with the Eagles. He’d hang out with them, have detailed talks with them about their families, their hobbies, their life enjoyments, and any number of other items. Then Kelly’s judgement from a personal perspective gets slightly clouded by one player who would be on the verge of free agency. You see where I’m going with this. It could turn into a real mess if the head coach and de facto general manager suddenly started becoming everyone’s buddy. For Chip Kelly, football has always been about, on and off the field, carefully crafted decisions to help win football games.
When I hear and read statements like Boykin’s, it helps to solidify the fact that today’s athletes have a much “softer” attitude off the field than players had many years ago. Players from the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s almost always seemed to have this attitude of sheer grit both on and off the field. Hurt feelings because a coach didn’t say, “hi,” to them walking down the hallway likely wasn’t too much of an issue during the early 1970’s. While we’ve been living in a new era of the “sports star,” I’m glad Chip Kelly has decided not to be everyone’s buddy.
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