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Not So Incognito

Bullying in the NFL warrants suspension

by Published: Nov 13, 2013

Professional foot­ball is sup­posed to be exactly what the name says, pro­fes­sional. Recent events in Miami have me think­ing otherwise.

Miami Dolphin’s offen­sive line­man Richie Incognito has been catch­ing head­lines across the nation for bul­ly­ing team­mate Jonathan Martin. Reports are swirling that Incognito left voice­mails and text mes­sages to Martin which included count­less racial slurs and pro­fane language.

Incognito has been sus­pended from the team indef­i­nitely and Martin has also left the team as a result of the bullying.

These actions by Incognito are obvi­ously a ques­tion of char­ac­ter, yet, this isn’t the first time his char­ac­ter has come into ques­tion. Incognito has an exten­sive record, includ­ing being kicked out of two col­leges, being con­victed of a mis­de­meanor assault charge and being named the NFL’s dirt­i­est player in the 2009 season.

Incognito was also involved in two alter­ca­tions last off­sea­son involv­ing police, one of which was a bar fight with a bouncer at a night-club.

I can’t help but ques­tion the Miami Dolphin’s man­age­ment for the way they have han­dled this con­tro­versy. When Dolphin’s gen­eral man­ager Jeff Ireland received a phone call from Martin’s agent con­cern­ing the bul­ly­ing, Ireland sug­gested Martin resort to phys­i­cal alter­ca­tion and punch Incognito in the face. Since when has phys­i­cal vio­lence ever been the solu­tion to a problem?

Incognito has also been quoted as say­ing he felt “betrayed” by Martin.

Let me repeat, Incognito feels betrayed. The con­text of that state­ment in this sit­u­a­tion dri­ves me insane. When you are fac­ing alle­ga­tions of racial slurs and bul­ly­ing, all you have to say is that you feel betrayed? Unprofessional doesn’t even begin to define that statement.

I’ve always been a firm believer that every­one deserves a sec­ond chance. At some point, you have to draw the line. Incognito has had plenty of chances to prove him­self wor­thy of being a pro­fes­sional foot­ball player. Yet, he seems to refuse to accept the pro­fes­sional part of the job.

When it comes to draft­ing or sign­ing a player to the so-called “broth­er­hood” atmos­phere of a team, char­ac­ter should be the num­ber one defin­ing cat­e­gory of the athlete.

Richie Incognito is a goon, to say the least. He has had every chance to shape his char­ac­ter become a more pro­fes­sional ath­lete. From the off the field alle­ga­tions, to the on field fights and alter­ca­tions, he has proved one thing to me. There is no doubt in my mind that he should never play another down in the NFL.