‘unCovering the Birds’: The power of words

unCovering the Birds.
unCovering the Birds. Photo credit Audacy

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — If one thing is for certain, it’s that not everything is always what it seems. While many Eagles fans might remember Cary Williams for being outspoken on and off the field, his life experiences, dating back to his childhood, played a massive role in the man he became, as well as the cornerback.

Growing up, Williams didn’t have it easy. With a mother who was absent in his life and suffered from an addiction to crack cocaine, the former Eagle found himself with something to prove from an early age.

“A lot of the chip on my shoulder was 98% my mother, and the fact that one, she was never able to see me play college football because she wasn’t in the right space of mind,” Williams said. “Two, she never came to an NFL game because she wasn’t in the right space in mind.”

Williams came to the Eagles during the 2013 offseason when he signed a three-year deal with the team. He started every game for the first two years of his contract, then was released in 2015.

In the early days of his stint with the Eagles, Williams rubbed some fans the wrong way by missing the team’s voluntary spring workouts. Instead, he opted to stay back home to help his wife pick out items for their new house, like sconces and flooring, and attend his first daughter’s dance recital.

Later that summer, Williams was thrust into another controversy in the aftermath of teammate Riley Cooper being caught on video using a racial slur towards security at a Kenney Chesney concert.

After seeing the video, Williams, who is Black, couldn’t believe that it had happened. He spoke up.

“I didn’t feel comfortable with Riley Cooper being on my damn team. Why? Because it’s 60% - 80% Black in the [expletive] locker room, you’re gonna use the N-word at a group of people that’s doing their job? This derogatory term was used to minimize, marginalize, and keep a certain group of people in one particular place, right? And it has a history here in this country about it. So you’re gonna use this term? You could use several other terms that probably wouldn’t have been along those lines - that’s derogatory and demeaning to another group of people.”

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie decided to fine Cooper and sent him to sensitivity training.

Upon Cooper’s return to the Eagles, Williams struggled to continue to play with Cooper. But there was no way out of the situation.

“What am I supposed to do? In a situation like that as a player, when you were seeing a rock and a hard place where you gotta be forced to be with a guy who may or may not like the color of your skin,” Williams said. “What am I supposed to do in that situation? I got to eat that [expletive].”

Listen to ‘unCovering the Birds’ Episode Eight: Speaking truth to power

New episodes of “unCovering the Birds” drop every Friday. Listen in the Audacy app or wherever you get your podcasts. “unCovering the Birds” is sponsored by Wawa.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Audacy