The Eagles pulled off a rare trade last night, shipping defensive back Brandon Boykin to the Steelers for a fifth round pick that could become a fourth rounder depending on playing time. On his way out of town, Boykin told a Philly reporter that Chip Kelly is "uncomfortable around grown men of our culture." That's not quite as explicit as what LeSean McCoy said of Kelly when he told ESPN in June that "there's a reason he got rid of all the black players -- the good ones -- like that," but it's pretty close.
From CSN Philly, here is the full Boykin quote:
In a text message to Comcast SportsNet's Derrick Gunn, Boykin said Kelly is "uncomfortable around grown men of our culture."
"He can't relate and that makes him uncomfortable," Boykin added in the text message. "He likes total control of everything, and he don't like to be uncomfortable. Players excel when you let them naturally be who they are, and in my experience that hasn't been important to him, but you guys have heard this before me."
This is now a full-blown perception problem for the Eagles and Kelly, as Boykin joins not only McCoy but former left tackle and defensive assistant on last year's team, Tra Thomas in criticizing the third-year coach. Thomas said in March that "Eagles players believed there was a 'hint of racism' in Kelly's personnel decisions."
It's easy to cast these statements aside as sour grapes, and that is already happening in the NFL Media, but that's a pretty dangerous assumption to make. I have no idea how national NFL reporter Albert Breer can just say out loud something like "Part of the issue with the initial comments made on Chip and race is they gave every other player walking out the door license to go there." Without actual knowledge of the people involved on all ends of this issue—McCoy, Boykin, Thomas, Kelly and others—that is as irresponsible as making up claims of racism.
It is entirely possible that Chip Kelly's behavior "gave every other player walking out the door license to go there." It's also entirely possible that Kelly is simply an egomaniac who doesn't work well with other egomaniacs, many of whom just so happen to be black. None of us really know, because we don't see those behind-the-scenes moments. What we do know is that Chip Kelly has talked about building a specific culture on the team, with specific types of players, but the outgoing players talk about a very different culture.