Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito is featured in the team’s fan code of conduct video.
But now Incognito (6’3″, 319 lbs.) has been suspended for bullying a teammate, Jonathan Martin (6’5″, 312 lbs.) who abruptly left the team a week ago to get help for emotional issues.
In a statement released Sunday, the Dolphins said Incognito violated the team’s culture of respect.
You figure an NFL locker room can be a pretty tough place, but 710 ESPN’s Brock Huard, who played for the Colts and the Seahawks told KIRO Radio’s Ron & Don, “There’s stuff that’s going to go on in an NFL locker room – but you can’t cross the line. You can’t do what Richie Incognito has done. The evidence is there, on tape. It’s nasty.”
ESPN reported that earlier this summer, Incognito bullied Martin into contributing $15,000 to help finance a trip to Las Vegas by a group of his teammates.
Multiple sources also confirmed to ESPN the following is a transcript of a voice message Incognito left for Martin in April 2013, a year after Martin was drafted:
Hey, wassup, you half (expletive) piece of (expletive). I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] (expletive) in your (expletive) mouth. [I’m going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. (Expletive) you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”
Cameron Wake, who is a teammate of Incognito on the Dolphins, didn’t seem to be too sure how you draw the line between hazing and bullying.
“In this league is a group of elite men. It is a fraternity. It is a brotherhood. It is a lot of things. There is a membership. You have to pay your dues to get certain privileges. Is it carrying football pads? Is it a silly haircut?” asked Wake. “To me I don’t know, if it’s bullying or hazing.”
But Huard told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson the team should be stepping in when things get out of hand too.
“You would sure hope that within your locker room, the other guys in that locker room, the other guys on that offensive line would handle it,” he said. “You would hope that coaching staff, they hear it, they hope that offensive staff, head coach (step in.)”
Former NFL star Tom Jackson, who is African-American, is now an analyst for ESPN and he thinks it has gone beyond hazing.
“Richie Incognito is a racist. I think he’s a bully,” said Jackson. “I’ve heard a lot of that today – well the locker room is a place where people are very different. They’re not this different.”
It seems like the NFL has some pretty bizarre rituals. You would think getting your head knocked around during the games would be enough of an initiation.
Incognito took to Twitter on Sunday, saying that he wants his “name cleared.” He called the reports “false speculation” and “slander” and said ESPN was hiding behind sources “who are not man enough to put their name behind the BS you report.”
Plus, if he’s that bad, how could he have made the fan conduct video?
There should be responsibility and accountability, according to Huard, and after all that’s happened he said, “I don’t think this guy, Incognito, is going to play another down.”
“There are bad guys,” said Huard. “There are some guys that are chumps, there are some guys that have attitudes, there are some guys that have big egos. Then, there are bad guys. Bad human beings. And every team I’ve ever been on, I think I can point to a bad apple – that’s a bad guy. And that Incognito is a bad guy. And it’s coming to light.”
Report by KIRO Radio’s Owen Murphy with contributions from Dave Ross and Alyssa Kleven.