Brandon Boykin clears up Chip Kelly comments: 'I'm not saying he's a racist'

Unpacking Claims of Racial Bias Aimed at Chip Kelly

On Saturday, cornerback Brandon Boykin became the latest Eagles player, in an offseason full of moves, traded from the team. Following the deal – Boykin to theSteelers for a conditional fifth-round pick – the cornerback shared some less-than-flattering thoughts about Chip Kelly with CSN Philly.

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."

Boykin's comments – most notably the "grown men of our culture" and harkening to previous criticisms – were immediately digested by fans and media alike as being racially charged. However, Boykin has since gone on the record to clarify his sentiments. Namely, that there was a communication barrier between him and his former coach. That Kelly is not a racist, but rather an aloof control freak.

"When you're a player, you want to be able to relate to your coach off the field,"Boykin said. "There were times he just didn't talk to people. ... I'm not saying he's a racist in any way."

The prior criticisms many believed Boyking to have been referencing were those of LeSean McCoy. After the tailback was traded away earlier this offseason, he charged that Kelly didn't get along with stars and was getting rid of all the Eagles' talented black players. His quotes from an ESPN interview are as follows.

The relationship was never really great. I feel like I always respected him as a coach. I think that's the way he runs his team. He wants the full control. You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest. That's the truth. There's a reason. ... It's hard to explain with him. But there's a reason he got rid of all the black players — the good ones — like that.

Ever since McCoy's interview there has been an air of racism hovering over Kelly. Whether true or not, he was painted with a broad brush in a public forum and the stink now (and will likely forever) follow him – regardless of how many people across the racial spectrum come to his defense. The reality now appears that anytime a player has a falling out with the coach, thoughts of racism will be tickling the backs of peoples' minds. It's a hellish stigma for a coach whose hyper-controlling ways are sure to rub more than a few individuals the wrong way, and equally as trying for any player who simply wants to blow off steam about a guy he didn't see eye-to-eye with.

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