National Columnist

Riley Cooper fought teammate Cary Williams, then just ... stopped

After doing something so very terribly wrong, Riley Cooper continues to do everything right. It's too late for some people, and I understand that, because what Cooper did wrong -- saying "I'll fight every n----- here" at a concert in June when he didn't realize he was being videoed -- was so very terribly wrong.

But since then Cooper has been magnificent, and that even includes his fight Thursday with Philadelphia Eagles teammate Cary Williams.

No, the fight wasn't magnificent. I don't mean that. What I mean is, well, watch it for yourself. Cooper shoves Williams, they start fighting, and Cooper just ... stops. Stops fighting, stops defending himself.

Just ... stops.

Any idea how much strength it takes, how much humility and self-awareness, to be involved in a fight with a teammate at a testosterone-filled place like an NFL football practice -- and just stop?

I don't know what Cooper was thinking when he stopped, but given the graceful way he has responded to his awful mistake, this is what I'm pretty sure happened: Cooper knew he had no businesses punching Cary Williams. Maybe he suspected Williams -- one of the team's most outspoken critics after Cooper used that racial slur -- was angry because of the slur. Maybe Cooper knew that's what it was.

Whatever the case, Cooper correctly understood -- in the heat of a fight -- that he had no business punching Cary Williams. So he stopped. And he took it

And then Michael Vick, who continues to be so damn impressive himself after all the mistakes he made, stepped in and helped calm Williams down.

So again this is me being impressed with Cooper and Vick, and this is me hoping Cary Williams can get over whatever happened Thursday. This is a tough deal for everyone involved -- though quite clearly it's a tough deal of Riley Cooper's creation.

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