Richie Incognito has likely bullied his way out of the NFL
One the other hand, Incognito is the type to get overemotional on the football field, leading to boneheaded penalties and dirty plays. During the preseason a few months ago, Incognito swung the removed helmet of Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith at the unprotected head of his opponent. Also over the offseason, Incognito was accused of "knocking out a hotel security guard."
While Incognito is clearly a hotheaded wild card, few of us knew what he was truly capable of until recently, when reports surfaced that he had bullied teammate Jonathan Martin to the point that Martin left the team. A voicemail from Incognito received by Martin recently surfaced, and the fact that a professional athlete could treat a teammate like this is somewhat disturbing. Here is the voicemail:
"Hey, wassup, you half (racial slur) piece of (expletive). I saw you on Twitter, you been training ten weeks. (I want to) (expletive) in your (expletive) mouth. (I'm going to) slap your real mother across the face. (Expletive) you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."
Many of you have probably read the voicemail already, but what you may not know is that the above words are the root of what will likely end Incognito's NFL career.
Ruthless, insensitive hazing is obviously something that NFL teams try to keep out of their locker rooms, so the Dolphins are taking this situation very seriously. They have already suspended Incognito indefinitely, but it appears his football career in Miami is over for good. "From a club perspective he'll never play another game here," said a source from within the Dolphins organization.
In addition, an NFL personnel man told Tom Pelissero of USA Today that Incognito "can file his retirement papers" when asked if the guard would be claimed off waivers. In a sport that relies so much on teamwork and camaraderie to reach success, there is no place for a player who makes his teammates feel unwelcome in the locker room.
Enjoying what may have been the best season of his career, Incognito currently ranks 13th among 72 qualifying guards in Pro Football Focus' rankings, excelling in pass protection. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2012, and his loss will deliver a blow to a Dolphins offensive line that is already giving up the most sacks in the league.
Though they pulled off an unlikely victory on Thursday night, the Dolphins have mostly floundered since their 3-0 start to the season. This type of distraction is not going to make the Dolphins' quest for the playoffs any easier. Aside from the distraction aspect, the Dolphins are now also missing two of their five starting offensive linemen. Martin is obviously the primary victim here, but Incognito really messed up from a number of different perspectives.