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November 20, 2013

Direct Kick: Incognito’s issues go way back

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — You know, this whole Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin thing really upsets me. I’m upset that this type of harassment still goes on in lockerrooms around the country. I’m upset that the Miami Dolphins lockerroom seems to have sided with Incognito. And I’m upset that, even though he has a long list of behavioral problems, Incognito is still getting sympathy.

For those unfamiliar with the incident I’m referring to, Incognito has been suspended for his alleged role in harassment of Martin, a teammate of his on the Dolphins. It seems that Incognito sent threatening and racially charged messages to Martin, including one voicemail where he called Martin a “half-n-word piece of s***.” He also threatened to slap Martin’s mother across the face and even uttered a death threat against Martin. It got so bad that Martin left the team to receive help for emotional issues.

Reports surfaced that multiple sources said Incognito may have taken orders from Dolphins coaches to “toughen up” Martin, and that he might have taken it too far.

Had this been the first incident that Incognito had been involved in you might thing, “yeah, he probably just did take things too far.” But it’s not.

In 2009, NFL players voted Incognito as the dirtiest player in the league, according to a Sporting News poll.

During the Dolphins’ annual celebrity golf tournament in 2012, a drunken Incognito harassed a female volunteer at the club. He was waived from the St. Louis Rams in 2009 after drawing two 15-yard penalties for headbutting Tennessee Titans players, which caused coach Steve Spagnuolo to bench him for the second half and the two got into a heated confrontation on the sidelines.

In college, while at Nebraska, he got into several fights, both during games and at practices. He was sent to a clinic for anger management treatment. In 2004 he was involved in a fight at a party and charged with three counts of assault, of which he was found guilty on one charge. He got into a fight in the lockerroom which was the last straw as he withdrew from Nebraska and transferred to Oregon, only to be dismissed a week later.

So you see, trouble and Incognito go arm-in-arm.

And yet it seems that many of his Miami teammates are siding with him in this recent ugly event involving Martin.

While Incognito has some good traits, he clearly has problems, most of which seem to stem from anger issues.

Incognito is a dangerous man, a volcano waiting to erupt. His career with Miami is more than likely over. The organization will want to distance itself from Incognito. But chances are good that he will land with some other NFL team because he is an All-Pro player.

And that’s the sad thing. I’m all for giving someone a second chance, but it seems to me that Incognito has been given that second chance, along with a third, fourth and fifth.

It’s time that the NFL cuts ties with people like Richie Incognito. Bullies like him have no place in the sport or in society for that matter.

sports@sentinel-echo.com

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