This is going to be short and sweet. There are so many issues with this fiasco that I’m not sure where to begin. Some are very obvious while others are somewhat hidden and overlooked by the more glaring aspects of the issue. For those of you who may not know, Richie Incognito, an offensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins, seemed to participate in the team hazing of Jonathan Martin. Martin is not a rookie but a young offensive lineman for the Dolphins as well. Martin didn’t respond well to the hazing, leaving the team and officially reported it to the team front office. Incognito responded to Martins actions by leaving racially charged text messages and voice mails. Now I’m not going to go in-depth in what Incognito stated (it’s all over the internet) but I will say on a scale of 1 to 10 that it was a good 7 or 8. Not only was his messages racially charged, they were violent and directed at his family as well. Some people may ask why I don’t rank it higher and my answer is that is bad is it is, I have heard worse. Since this story became known, it has only gotten worse for Incognito. Not long afterwards a video surfaced showing him in some kind of “psychotic” tirade. He is running around a bar with his shirt off yelling, cussing, using racial slurs, and acting like his is completely out of his mind. I think it is this video that is extremely important and remember this because we will get into that in a minute.
First and foremost, what Incognito did to Martin after he left the team is beyond defense. I’m not sure how anyone could defend those actions. I understand the concept of hazing, and to be honest for the most part I don’t have that much of a problem with most hazing. Some people can handle it better than others, and some people can’t handle it at all. It seems that Martin is the latter. In order for him to walk away from a job the has to love, not to mention his contracts is about $800K a year, he must have really had a hard time with the hazing he was subjected too. Once he did this any reasonable person would have recognized this and acted accordingly. Not only did Incognito NOT act accordingly, he “doubled down” with threats and racial slurs. You combine that with the fact that the guy has had numerous problems during his college and professional careers, I believe that he should never play another down of football in the NFL. If you were to isolate the most sensitive aspect of this, the racially charged aspect, I’m not sure it would be enough to ostracize him forever, but when this man shows the lack of intelligence he did, That’s enough for me. If I owned the Dolphins he would never play another down for me, and I was NFL Commissioner, I would do everything in my power to see that he never played another down in the NFL. Would you really want someone who damn stupid around your organization. If this man doesn’t have enough reason and common sense not to think it is a bad idea to text and leave this on voicemail, I don’t want him near me or anything associated with me. Maybe he will play again in the NFL, maybe not. But if I owned the Dolphins it wouldn’t be up for discussion and I’m pretty sure the current Dolphin Organization shares my belief. I’ll go ahead and say now that he won’t play for the Dolphins.
This brings me to another aspect of this fiasco that I want to talk about. Although the vast majority of the blame rest with Incognito, is there anyone or anything out there that should or could hold some culpability for Incognito’s actions. Soon after this story came to light, I was discussing it with my circle of friends and I brought up a point that others were missing. Is there a subculture or counterculture that facilitates or enables Incognito’s behavior. Not long after making this suggestion, the video I spoke about earlier surfaced. As I stated earlier, the video shows Incognito in a tirade and although racial slurs aren’t are the focal point of the incident, he does use them. The shocking aspect of the video is that Miami’s center Mike Pouncy (who is also black), is seen in the video smiling and laughing while Incognito is using the “N word”. It’s obvious that there are certain aspects of American society where this word is acceptable. Is the Dolphins “locker room” one of them? Is it acceptable for white Dolphin players to use that word and refer to other black Dolphin player with that word. If you go by the video, I would have to argue yes. Then if you put a guy, who isn’t the “sharpest tool in the shed” in this environment would he use the word when he shouldn’t?There are bad words in the English language and then there are very bad words, then even beyond that there is the “N word” and if the word is THAT bad it shouldn’t be acceptable to use by ANYONE in any environment. There maybe very small exceptions such as academic, or historical context of a movie, but that is about it.
The bottom line is that Incognito is responsible for his actions and he should pay for it severely, but I believe everyone who uses that word in any “acceptable” form shares some culpability, and until we chang that, there will be more and more instances just like this..
Just my dos centavos from the Modern Day Machiavelli.
Have a different opinion, disagree, or think I’m way off base, I beg you to debate me. Just hit me up here, Facebook, or my Twitter.