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Kenny Chesney on Riley Cooper: ‘Hateful Beyond Words’

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Photo: Ronald Martinez

It's no secret that Kenny Chesney is a sports fan, and that he has many friends and fans in the pro sports world who admire his work right back. However, Chesney isn't afraid to speak out when one of them cross a line, as Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper did at one of Chesney's tour stops in July.

As you likely have already heard by now, Cooper was caught on a (now-viral) video, using a particularly offensive racial slur at Chesney's Philadelphia show. He then was invited up on stage with Chesney — along with some other Eagles, including the team's coach — resulting in some inadvertent bad PR overall for the country singer, and perhaps the country community as a whole by default.

However: Cooper has since taken a leave of absence from the team, and Chesney wants to set the record straight that he absolutely does not condone that kind of language or thought.

"I'm as shocked as anyone to see the video of Riley Cooper that's started circulating on the internet," the singer told ESPN. "I don't believe in discrimination in any form, and I think using language like that is not only unacceptable, it is hateful beyond words."

According to Chesney, he wasn't aware of Cooper's views in this area, having had nothing but positive experiences with other sports figures. "I don't know everything about every player who comes to our shows," he explained. "We invite the teams in the places where we play, and I've found the guys from the NFL are some of the most inspiring people I meet all year. They give back to their communities, work with children, hospitals and various charities, as well as raising awesome families."

His final words on the matter? "The music I make is about living life, loving life and loving everybody — no matter who they are," Chesney stated to ESPN.

"That's how I was raised, and what someone else does or says doesn't reflect who I am or what my fans stand for."

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