Former Eagles player and, more recently, assistant coach Tra Thomas had made some pretty bold comments earlier this month when he was asked about the role of race in Philadelphia's locker room. In a live appearance on FOX29 News, Thomas openly said racism exists on team.
"One of the things that you’re seeing right now, and these are the things that you have heard from the locker room from different players is that … they feel like there is a hint of racism. I personally … when you put that tag on someone, you gotta be careful with that, but there are some of the players that kind feel like that’s what it is. Especially when there was a report that came out last year that the Eagles were one of the whitest teams in the NFL. So you start to see the culture of the team change extremely quickly, when Coach Kelly takes over."
"Yeah you have seven assistant black coaches but only one black coach is over the segment. The other guys are assistants to the assistant coaches. Duce Staley is the only guy that’s head over his segment who is gonna be in charge of his group. The other guys are just assistants to an assistant coach."
During his Wednesday media session at the NFL owner's meetings, Chip Kelly was asked about the comments made by Thomas. The Eagles coach said he was "disappointed" by what Thomas had to say.
"I didn't really see it, but I heard about it," Kelly said, via Birds 24/7. "I was just disappointed. We gave Tra a great opportunity. He came in on a Bill Walsh minority internship program. Mr. [Jeffrey] Lurie was nice enough to keep him on for two years - one on offense, one on defense - [to] see if he could find a job in the NFL. So I hope Tra does find a job in the NFL. We don't have a job open."
Kelly was also asked about how the Eagles have more white players than any other team in the NFL. His response:
"I don't look at the color of any player. I just look at how do they fit on our team. In 2015, I don't think that's something that's ever come into my mindset."