Home US SportsNCAAF Kenjon Barner responds to degrading comments on former Oregon coach Chip Kelly

Kenjon Barner responds to degrading comments on former Oregon coach Chip Kelly

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Former Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly has found himself in the news cycle quite a bit over the last six months.

The most notable occurrence came when Kelly made that somewhat surprising jump from head coach of the UCLA Bruins to take over as the new offensive coordinator for the Ohio State Buckeyes, a move that is rarely seen at the Power 5 level in college football. This past week, though, Kelly once again saw his name in circulation after a pair of his former players — Philadelphia Eagles greats DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy — discussed him on their new podcast “The 25/10 Show” in an episode titled “The Truth about Chip Kelly.”

Long story short, the pair of Eagles aren’t big fans of their former coach.

The two discussed the frustrations of Kelly’s coaching style and roster management, but the most damning remarks came with the insinuation that Kelly had a problem with dealing with black athletes and often treated them differently. Jackson proclaimed that Kelly often displayed discomfort when dealing with black players on the team, and showed favoritism to the white athletes.

This is not something that Kenjon Barner or Jonathan Stewart — two players who spent time with Chip Kelly with the Oregon Ducks — could agree with. This week on “The Sco-ing Long Podcast” both former Ducks talked about their experience with Kelly, and their views on his coaching style.

“I’ve never, for me, felt like Chip Kelly did not like black people, or had a problem with black athletes,” said Barner, who also played for Kelly with the Eagles. “The narrative of him not liking black folks, I don’t buy into that. I don’t know that to be true, and I would never be in agreement with that being said because I know what that man was for me.”

While anyone who has spent time around Kelly will tell you that he has his quirks and is sometimes difficult to get along with, Barner claims that this in no way means that he has racist tendencies or takes issue with black athletes. From his time playing under Kelly as an 18-year-old to their experience at the NFL level together, Barner says that Kelly never changed.

“I’ve had the opportunity to know Chip since I was 18 years old,” Barner said.”The same man that I met then was the same man that I played for in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, I know him to be no different. So to me, he was the same guy, but to somebody who was just meeting him, he’s going to come off different.”

Stewart, on the other hand, only spent one year with Kelly when he was the offensive coordinator at Oregon under Mike Bellotti. He says that Kelly was always a standup guy who was true to his word, but the tendencies that led to his success at the college level didn’t necessarily translate to the NFL level.

“When I start hearing things about how he was as an NFL coach, my thought process was ‘Well this is different than college,’” Stewart said. “You can’t really run in the NFL like a college coach, because you’re dealing with grown men who’ve got kids at the house, they’re paying taxes, they’ve got food to put on the table, so you can’t really just talk to people any kind of way and expect the same outcome.”

One of the bigger points of contention that both Jackson and McCoy had with Kelly was for his roster management. During his short stint in Philadelphia, one of Kelly’s first moves was to release Jackson the year after his Pro Bowl season. He also soon after traded McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso.

On the surface, these moves may be head-scratchers, but Barner sees the logic in all of it for a head coach who is trying to establish himself.

“If I’m a coach and I feel like someone is a detriment to my team, I have to make a decision,” Barner said. “People may not like it or may not agree with it, but if I feel like I can’t be the coach that I need to be, or if someone is standing in the way of me being the coach of this team or is going against my message, then I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do. This is business.”

Depending on your experience with Kelly, your opinion may differ on his coaching tactics, and his leadership abilities. But from a pair of players who have known Kelly for a long time, and one who played under him at multiple stops, there seems to be no concern about his character or his motives.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire

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