Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Joe Philbin. The suspension is a result of the formal complaint filed by tackle Jonathan Martin, who was the subject of alleged harassment from teammates dating back to his rookie season of 2012.
The straw that broke the camel’s back occurred this past Monday, when Martin was allegedly invited to sit at a table with fellow teammates and after he sat down, everyone stood up and left.
Martin, evidently tired of the hazing and the abuse, stood up, slammed his food tray, left the practice facility and has not returned since then. The Dolphins have added him the “non-football injury” list and the NFL has began investigating the reports throughout the weekend.
Admittedly, the first reports of this story were mind-boggling. How can a grown man that plays a warrior’s game be so sensitive? Well, as it turns out, this lunchroom incident is just the icing on the cake. Multiple undated reports have stated that Incognito had, prior to this incident, sent text messages and left voicemails to Martin that were allegedly threatening and racially charged. The actual information within the texts and voicemails has not been made public as of this moment because of the NFL investigation.
The word childish first came to mind when trying to find a way to summarize what is going on here. Players making fun of and picking on other players in the lunchroom sounds strikingly similar to my days in elementary and middle school. Letting the bullies get the best of you, running off crying and speaking through your family also reeks of child-like behavior. So, when there are limited details on a story that had gone viral, it’s difficult to form any other opinion.
Today, however, the news has evolved from child-like behavior to threats and racism. Incognito, of course, has denied all of these claims and took to Twitter yesterday to tell reporters from the various media outlets that he wants an apology and his name cleared.
Well, guess what Incognito, just because you demand an apology, that doesn’t make you innocent.
The bigger story here is that his actions have chased a teammate off the team. Martin’s mental health, which should be the focus of this bizarre story, will take a back seat to the cause of his breakdown. The media will instead focus on what exactly Incognito said and did instead.
Since he’s been suspended indefinitely while the NFL and the NFLPA investigate the claims against him, maybe Incognito should take the time to start preparing a heartfelt and real apology for Martin, his teammates, his coaches and the fans. In an age where there has been an emphasis on anti-bullying and anti-racism campaigns, this move by Incognito just shows how ignorant someone can really be. I sincerely hope he gets on Twitter and apologizes as much as he tweeted about having his name cleared.
The Dolphins’ offensive line has been bad enough this year, now Incognito’s actions have created two more casualties on the line with Martin going AWOL and himself suspended.