Professional football is supposed to be exactly what the name says, professional. Recent events in Miami have me thinking otherwise.
Miami Dolphin’s offensive lineman Richie Incognito has been catching headlines across the nation for bullying teammate Jonathan Martin. Reports are swirling that Incognito left voicemails and text messages to Martin which included countless racial slurs and profane language.
Incognito has been suspended from the team indefinitely and Martin has also left the team as a result of the bullying.
These actions by Incognito are obviously a question of character, yet, this isn’t the first time his character has come into question. Incognito has an extensive record, including being kicked out of two colleges, being convicted of a misdemeanor assault charge and being named the NFL’s dirtiest player in the 2009 season.
Incognito was also involved in two altercations last offseason involving police, one of which was a bar fight with a bouncer at a night-club.
I can’t help but question the Miami Dolphin’s management for the way they have handled this controversy. When Dolphin’s general manager Jeff Ireland received a phone call from Martin’s agent concerning the bullying, Ireland suggested Martin resort to physical altercation and punch Incognito in the face. Since when has physical violence ever been the solution to a problem?
Incognito has also been quoted as saying he felt “betrayed” by Martin.
Let me repeat, Incognito feels betrayed. The context of that statement in this situation drives me insane. When you are facing allegations of racial slurs and bullying, all you have to say is that you feel betrayed? Unprofessional doesn’t even begin to define that statement.
I’ve always been a firm believer that everyone deserves a second chance. At some point, you have to draw the line. Incognito has had plenty of chances to prove himself worthy of being a professional football player. Yet, he seems to refuse to accept the professional part of the job.
When it comes to drafting or signing a player to the so-called “brotherhood” atmosphere of a team, character should be the number one defining category of the athlete.
Richie Incognito is a goon, to say the least. He has had every chance to shape his character become a more professional athlete. From the off the field allegations, to the on field fights and altercations, he has proved one thing to me. There is no doubt in my mind that he should never play another down in the NFL.