Yesterday, we noted that Jason Avant was one of the players who recently spoke with commissioner Roger Goodell about locker room guidelines in the wake of what happened in Miami.
Today, he penned a piece for The MMQB and expanded on what he told Goodell.
Two parts in the column pertained specifically to the Eagles. Avant described the Dolphins’ locker room as “atypical” and said he was “shocked” by some of what he read:
There were parts of the Wells report that shocked me, especially the language that was used openly among some of the guys. I’ve heard the ‘n’ word used among African Americans, and I even find that completely unacceptable. But I’ve never heard racial slurs used so openly and so freely. The joke about shooting black people was hard to digest, and I couldn’t believe the fines the Dolphins linemen handed out. Hazing, to some extent, happens everywhere. For example, with our team, rookies are in charge of buying chicken or barbeque before road trips. The total cost is something like $100.
Avant also stressed the importance of leadership and tone-setters:
The spirit of Brian Dawkins, Brian Westbrook and Troy Vincent live on. Their names are mentioned a lot in organizational meetings, and Dawkins can come speak to the team any time he wants. We also have an owner, Jeffrey Lurie, who is hands-on and cordial; he has lunch with some players, and always discusses the mindset and the standards that those earlier guys raised—and I think that standard is extremely important. Why? Look at what happened this season with one of our receivers, Riley Cooper, who was caught on video using the ‘n’ word at a concert. That incident had the potential to divide us. Instead, because of strong team leadership, we worked through the issue together; we forgave Riley and we we able to grow, both as a team and as individuals—Riley included.
Several members of the Eagles’ organization spoke with pride this season about how the team was able to get through the Cooper situation and have a successful season, so it’s no surprise that Avant made that reference. And he led the charge during that tumultuous time.
Click here to read the entire column, which is worth your time.