By: Travis Thayer
If all the allegations are true, Richie Incognito should just disappear. By now we all know the story (Link), and it is down right disgusting. Now I’m sure that there is some sort of bullying in most NFL locker rooms, but I can’t imagine it is anything like this. If the allegations are indeed true, Incognito is not only a bully, but he is a racist sociopath who needs some serious help. Yes, Jonathan Martin could have stood up for himself and this whole thing would be done with, but it’s easy to say when you’re not in his shoes. Yes, Jonathan Martin is a 300-pound man who just happens to play in the NFL, but he is still a human being. I applaud Martin for not resorting to violence because that often doesn’t solve anything. If anything that could have just escalated the situation. Martin showed he was the bigger man by walking away, even if that wasn’t the popular choice among players and the public. A man told Martin he would kill him. Right then and there is where this situation went from bullying to intimidation and maybe even exploitation – if Martin was made to pay 15k for a trip to Vegas. We are no longer talking about a situation where someone got stuffed in a locker or they had to give up their lunch money. This is a serious situation, and it’s not a situation that is going to be solved by Jonathan Martin fighting Richie Incognito.
Incognito has had a long track record ever since he started playing football at a high level. In 2002, as a freshman at Nebraska, Incognito picked fights and harassed teammates. There was one particular walk-on that Incognito targeted. His name was Jack Linbaugh, and Linbaugh had to walkout on practice after Incognito gave him a cheap shot in the back for no reason whatsoever. Also, while at Nebraska he was convicted of a misdemeanor assault, and was suspended from the team twice. He then transferred to Oregon in 2004, and he was kicked off the team before the first practice because his behavior had not changed. On the game field he was ejected from a game in ’02 for fighting, and in ’03 he spat in the faces of the opponent in the Alamo Bowl. Nothing really changed when Incognito arrived in the NFL. In 2009, Incognito head-butted two people, and was later named the league’s dirtiest player. After the Rams let him go, the Bills claimed him and released him after only three games. Sounds a lot like his college career, but he finally landed with the Dolphins where he is once again in hot water. How can anybody defend or feel sorry for this man after all the things he has done to earn such a reputation?
One of the more troubling things about this story is that the Dolphins management and their players allowed such a thing to happen. There have been former and current players around the league that have said they would have fought Incognito even if they might have gotten the worst of it. Those guys are about as tough as Incognito – it’s easy to say you’ll fight someone when you’re not the target of the threatening and racial remarks from Incognito. Hell, I could say I’d fight and stand up for myself and I’m nowhere near 300-pounds, but I don’t know what it feels like to have someone tell me they will kill me. Yes, those are just words, but they are words that need to be taken seriously. Everyone needs to stop trying to be tough, and start being sensitive to Jonathan Martin’s feelings. I don’t care that he is a 300-pound NFL player. Instead, I care that the man is a human being, and he has the right to enter his workplace and feel safe. There is only way for that to happen, and that is for Incognito to be banned from the NFL for life. If it’s not Martin it will be somebody else. Richie has to go.