Photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
During the 2013 NFL season Richie Incognito had to face a very serious problem, Incognito wasn’t hurt or seriously injured. Instead the Miami Dolphins offensive lineman was accused of bullying former teammate Jonathan Martin. The news of the allegations quickly hit the media and before Incognito knew it, he was in a whirlwind of media coverage that labeled him as verbally abusive and a racist bigot. Now to be fair most players inside the Dolphins locker room stated that Richie Incognito didn’t unfairly treat Jonathan Martin. Yes there was a voicemail in which Incognito used the n-word and profanity, however Incognito was also known for continuously building up Jonathan Martin when the young player struggled in practice. Ultimately Incognito’s downfall was the fact that he used a racial slur and we all have to agree that’s completely unacceptable. However that was one negative interaction that Martin decided to focus his entire complaint against Incognito on. There was no discussion of all the positive things Incognito did to help build up Jonathan Martin’s confidence and by not handling the situation “in house” Martin essentially threw Incognito under the bus as much as Incognito did to Martin with that voicemail. See Jonathan Martin was known as outsider for his entire NFL career, he continuously isolated himself and often came up short when the pressure is on. That’s a big part of the reason why Jonathan Martin is no longer in the NFL and it’s also why Martin is more known for the bullying scandal than his play on the field. Incognito might have been guilty of hazing Martin but the real misstep the now Buffalo Bill had was slipping up and allowing race to become a factor in that hazing. The good news for Richie Incognito is he has put all of the negativity behind him and he has found a way to win over the trust of all his current teammates. That’s right Incognito has grown tremendously from his struggles and he will no longer let race play into his interactions even if he is joking or not. By being less of a prankster in his interactions Incognito has managed to build a serious relationship with his Quarterback Tyrod Taylor and even petitioned for Taylor to be the starting quarterback when he arrived in Buffalo. It’s clear Incognito understands where he came up short in the past and now the 34 year old veteran is trying to go the extra mile when dealing with his teammates, especially those from different backgrounds. Incognito has done everything right after missing the entire 2014 season while that is a step in the right direction, keep in Incognito will never be able to escape the mistakes he made in the past. It’s just great to see that Richie Incognito is using those tough times to shape himself into a better man now as he continues to move forward.
Charity of the day: Opportunity International
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