Riley Cooper has been wandering through a dark forest for the past seven months. The shadows act as blindfolds with the opacity of black spray-paint; the branches hang like gallows.

There are no enchanted woodlands for Cooper, only gloomy mementos he’s incapable of forgetting. And make no mistake, nobody is willing to clutch Cooper’s hand and guide him through the maze he fashioned in June 2013.

For Cooper, there is no exit, only more inundated terrain. For the past year, he has walked through this self-made prism of dissolved bonds to both teammates and fans; scared of himself, afraid of his inept acumen.

His overwhelmingly uncouth racial epithet became his legacy in a matter of hours. All it took was a camera, a crowd, and country music. Ultimately 2013 will be remembered by Cooper as his epoch – a time where he felt completely alone in a community where you’re incessantly surrounded; an sinking man tied to a thousand anchors.