There are two legitimately fascinating stories hiding in ESPN's "Hot Read" on the redemption of Riley Cooper, and neither of them are told. One is buried and glossed over, the other ignored altogether, in favor of a trite and vaguely insulting tale of overcoming self-inflicted adversity.
First, the bad, because when that's all stripped away, we can get to how the Riley Cooper saga offers a truly excellent big picture. We've been down this road before, but I think we need to come up with a definition of what adversity actually is. Cooper did not lose a close family member. He did not suffer a debilitating injury. He did not get caught up in the wrong crowd. He was not the victim of a crime. He was not a victim. He was drunk at a concert, and a security guard wouldn't let him backstage, so he threatened to "fight every nigger here," and it was filmed, and the video ended up online. Only that very last is Cooper's cross to bear—the fact that the world saw.