For when he’s come-face-to face with such potential bouts of humanity, the always colorful yet equally segregating Incognito hasn’t been so gracious. His locker room crucifixion of teammate Jonathan Martin went far beyond the bounds of what should be acceptable among teammates to qualify as good-natured camaraderie, all the while setting off the N-word firestorm debate that even now continues to plague and perplex all of Sports Nation.
When you raise that much hell, you have to know it’s bound to make fire. And so, some four months since his victimization of Martin became public and now two weeks after NFL special investigator Ted Wells revealed to the world what it all so sordidly entailed, the jury still somewhat remains deadlocked as to what to make of and do with Richie Incognito.
Long considered what you might call an enigma, wild mood swings and temperamental acts of violence have long highlighted Incognito’s career. But being the 6-foot-3, 320 pound brute of a man he is, Incognito has more often than not always found a way to gleefully cast himself in the role of the tormentor as opposed to the tormented.
All the way back to his days as a hotshot recruit at Nebraska, Incognito reportedly once bullied walk-on teammate Jack Limbaugh to the point that he, like Martin, walked out on his team. While a Cornhusker, Incognito was also convicted of misdemeanor assault and repeatedly suspended by the team for conduct deemed detrimental.
In 2009, the Rams cut bait with him after he head-butted two opponents, en route to being vilified as the Sporting News’ dirtiest NFL player. The Bills picked him up upon his release, but dumped him after three games and still similar behavior, landing him in Miami. Even before the Martin fiasco, Incognito was investigated as a Dolphin for allegedly sexually harassing a volunteer staffer at an annual team golfing tournament.
But now, after so much of a wicked grace period, karma seems to have finally caught up with Richie Incognito and he’s mercifully asking the world to save him from himself. He wants the chance he never gave Jonathan Martin or, for that matter, any of his other many victims.
Besides his workplace blues, Incognito is dealing with the divorce of his parents, described as “his backbone in life,” at the same time the NFL career he values as much as anything else may be forever stripped away.
“This is just bad,” said Incognito’s former Rams’ teammate Brett Romberg. “It’s getting really, really bad. I’m terrified he might go about doing something really, really, really bad to himself. Now, it’s dangerous. I don’t think he’s going to go as far as to hurt other people. I think it’s just a self-inflicted breakdown.”
In recent days, Incognito’s meltdown played out on a public stage. He used social media to fire his agent, then recanted; he again attacked Martin, then apologized and later labeled him “his brother,” adding he feels they’re here “to motivate each other to get the best out of one another.”
Even more recently, Incognito took a bat to his prized black Ferrari FF, recklessly smashing it to pieces and later vowing to donate it to a California charity that works with abused and neglected children.
No one’s saying Richie Incognito doesn’t have a heart. It’s just that it would be so much easier for us to collectively show him ours and if he had done more of the same for all those he’s long lorded over.