The real LeSean McCoy exposed on social media

LeSean McCoy (left) and Michael Vick forced Eagles fans into tough choices.
LeSean McCoy (left) and Michael Vick forced Eagles fans into tough choices. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 31, 2013

LeSean McCoy deleted the Twitter account he used to attack the mother of his child over the weekend. That was considerate of him.

Unfortunately, he can't come around and scrub all of our memories, one by one. So we can't pretend we don't know way too much about McCoy, his character, and his personal life.

You may feel that this whole thing is nobody's business and so shouldn't be the subject of a column. I would counter that it's the subject of a column only because McCoy inflicted his ugly personal business on the rest of us.

When a college football player was very nice to a woman who didn't exist, it became the biggest story in the country.

When a professional football player behaved atrociously toward a real woman, the story barely made it onto the radar. What is the message there? Is Manti Te'o's imaginary dead girlfriend more worthy of our attention than the very real woman McCoy humiliated?

Of course, McCoy succeeded mostly in humiliating himself. Nothing that he said about the woman in question, or that she said about him, is as damning as what McCoy revealed about himself.

He criticized the woman for having sex with him before he even knew her name, without any apparent awareness that this makes him equally sleazy. He accused her of lying about being on birth control, without any apparent awareness that a man is equally responsible.

First, McCoy confirmed every stereotype of the spoiled, arrogant professional athlete who treats women like perks of his job. Then he did something even more despicable. He called on his 122,000-plus Twitter followers to join him in insulting the woman. Again: She is the mother of his son, LeSean Jr.

You will not be surprised, unfortunately, to hear that a bunch of idiots lowered themselves to the occasion, sending insulting tweets to a total stranger in support of their football hero.

Not only is there no IQ requirement for using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media, IQs seem to drop upon logging in.

If it's fair to wonder whether Te'o's bizarre story will affect his status in the NFL draft, it's also fair to wonder how new Eagles coach Chip Kelly will view McCoy after this episode. Already, he knows he is taking over a roster full of selfish players who quit on his predecessor, Andy Reid. Already, Kelly knows he has to address the team's overall character.

Up until this, no one would have questioned McCoy's. He seemed like a good-enough guy. But he changed that perception all by himself.

When the Eagles signed Michael Vick in 2009, my main objection was this: Reid and Jeffrey Lurie were forcing Eagles fans to make a choice they never asked for. They either had to turn away from the team they supported or accept a man whose actions sickened them. That is a lot to ask of loyal fans who fill your stadium and buy your merchandise.

Now McCoy has forced people to make that same determination about him. He gave Eagles fans an unwanted peek into his personal life. He can't blame anyone who isn't able to see him in the same way after this.

It's a little bit like the episode in 2006, when Phillies pitcher Brett Myers was arrested on a domestic violence charge in Boston. The charges were dismissed, and Myers and his wife, Kim, are still together. But there are fans who never saw Myers the same way again. And that's their right.

You shouldn't have to check your humanity at the door to be a sports fan.

McCoy did two things right. He deleted the account, and he admitted to sending the offending tweets. It would have been much worse to hide behind the excuse that his account was hacked.

He didn't do quite as well with his prepared statement. It's hard to find real remorse in words that obviously were written by a public-relations professional.

"This is not who I am as a person," the statement read, in part, "nor the image I ever wanted to portray of myself. It's definitely not the example I want to set for my son."

It is an image McCoy indelibly created using antisocial media. He erased his Twitter account. His mistake, obviously, was opening one in the first place.


Contact Phil Sheridan at psheridan@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @Sheridanscribe.

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