I’m glad the Miami Dolphins suspended guard Richie Incognito, an alleged serial bully who was sending vile, racially-charged text, e-mail and voice mail messages to his bi-racial teammate Jonathan Martin.
But the Dolphins should go one step further: Cut Incognito now. Kick him off the team immediately and send a clear message that racial harassment will not be tolerated in the NFL. He should not be allowed to play professional football again.
According to a CBS Sports report, Incognito referred to Martin as a “half-n—–” and threatened to track down members of Martin’s family and harm them.
Martin, 24, a second-year player from Stanford, left the team last week to sort through some emotional issues after Incognito’s rants were shared with the Dolphins and Martin’s family.
“Hey, wassup, you half (expletive) piece of (expletive),” according to a transcript from Incognito to Martin.
“I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. I’ll (expletive) in you (expletive) mouth,” Incognito said to Martin. I’m gonna slap your (expletive) mouth, I’m gonna slap your real mother across the face (laughter). (Expletive) you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”
This is sick, lunatic behavior. There is no place in the Dolphins organization –or the NFL — for Incognito or his intolerable brand of racial harassment and locker room bullying.
The Dolphins initially thought Martin was the victim of a team prank, but now we know the warped harassment escalated into something far more serious, more sinister, and more troubling.
Nobody knows for sure when Martin plans to return to the Dolphins. Some players say Martin should take some time to himself while others maintain that Martin, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 312 pounds, should toughen up, return to the team, and play football.
Last week, Martin apparently was upset when he sat down at the lunch table and the other players got up to leave. Then it was reported that Incognito had previously pressured Martin into contributing $15,000 for a player trip to Las Vegas that Martin elected not to attend.
“We received notification today from Jonathan’s representation about allegations of player misconduct,” the Dolphins said in a statement. “We are taking these allegations very seriously and plan to review the matter further. We have also reached out to the NFL and asked them to conduct an objective and thorough review. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another.”
One sports analyst with Fox said Martin had been the subject of “persistent bullying and teasing from some teammates that has plagued him since joining Miami as a 2012 second-round draft choice.”
We don’t know what kind of emotional drama Martin is trying to process. We only know that he apparently can’t work through his troubles in the Dolphins locker room. Football is by nature a tough and intense sport and Martin does not need the added pressure of being racially harassed by a fellow teammate.
Meanwhile, Incognito took to Twitter to defend himself.
“@espn shame on you for attaching my name to false speculation,” Incognito wrote in one of the tweets. “I won’t be holding my breathe for an apology.”
I hope Martin can work through his emotional issues and return to the Dolphins soon. Perhaps the young man will feel more comfortable suiting up for football and re-connecting with teammates once he takes a look at Incognito’s empty locker.
What do you think?