The Crescent

Incognito: Behavior Exposed

November 11, 2013

Coverage of Richie Incognito’s bullying increased in the media over the past two weeks – plenty of stories have been written on his flagrantly racist and belittling treatment of fellow Miami Dolphin Jonathan Martin.

Attention amplified when Incognito was featured in an interview with Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer on Sunday. He spoke about his suspension by the Dolphins after voicemails of his tirades were released.

During the interview, Incognito expressed regret for his actions and claimed they were done out of love. In an attempt to defend himself, he said the voicemails and text messages shared between the two “best friends” is their way of communicating.

The voicemails don’t sound like a conversation between best friends, unless you think calling your friend a racial slur and threatening to hurt him and his mother is friendship.

Throughout this mess, Martin hasn’t said anything. He is expected to release a video statement sometime this week, but no interviews have been granted.

Incognito doesn’t call his action bullying – it’s “love.” He believes he may have taken it too far, but no harassment occurred.

This isn’t the first time his aggressive behavior has been visible. Opponents and referees have claimed to witness and experience Incognito’s aggression. As a child, Incognito was a victim of bullying, but his father’s advice was to return the “favor.”

None of the players have spoken out or expressed knowledge regarding the hazing culture. The communication in the locker room is acknowledged as vulgar, but the recent attention has caught them by surprise.

The NFL has failed to rectify the situation and apparently doesn’t realize the damage possible when such an example is displayed to student athletes and teams. The delay of action implies that bullying is acceptable in a team setting, and by extension that harassing a freshman is a norm. Bullying is a universal problem which often gets swept under the rug. Multiple cases of bullying go unreported because no one is speaking up; therefore, nothing is being done.

The wrong message is being sent. These are grown men playing a professional sport, providing an atrocious example. A teammate is a friend, not an enemy.

The NFL doesn’t need to add on to the issue of bullying or spread the message that it’s tolerable in certain situation. They need to shut it down all together from the start.

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