(Note: Monday’s news that E.J. Manuel has been cleared to play next weekend in Pittsburgh invalidated much of We Want Marangi’s planned post on Sunday’s rather bizarre loss to Kansas City. So here’s a little something to tide you over in the meantime.)
In these divisive times, when formerly mundane topics like the weather, health insurance and whether or not to run the ball on third-and-goal are fodder for unyielding debate and contrarian punditry, we thank the National Football League for giving us something we can all agree upon:
Richie Incognito is an asshole.
So’s his old man, it seems.
Incognito’s indefinite suspension by Miami after the revelation that he sent racist, threatening voice and text messages to teammate Jonathan Martin gave credence to the rumors of serial harassment swirling around the Dolphins since Martin left the team last week.
Dolphins officials released a statement tacitly defending Incognito early Sunday, but reversed themselves after learning of a voicemail that has been transcribed as follows in numerous reports:
“Hey, wassup, you half n—– 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 [expletive] mouth. [I’m going to] slap your real mother across the face (laughter). [Expletive] you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”
Kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it? We’re not going to chronicle Incognito’s previous crimes against sportsmanship and basic human decency, since that has been taken care of elsewhere.
Interestingly, the only stop in his professional and collegiate football career in which his behavior did not make the news was Buffalo. That could be due to the brevity of his time with the Bills, who signed him for the final three games of the 2009 season — after he had been waived by St. Louis after he was penalized for head-butting twice in the same game.
Incognito started at guard in all three games with Buffalo, including Fred Jackson’s 212-yard eruption against Indianapolis in the season finale. But when he became a restricted free agent a few months later, Buffalo did not even try to keep him by making a qualifying offer, allowing him to sign with Miami.
That’s right. The 2009-10 Bills, at one of the lowest points of the franchises’s post-postseason era and desperately in need of help on the offensive line (and everywhere else), decided Incognito was not worth the trouble.
It took three-and-a-half seasons, but his treament of Martin — or, to be accurate, the fact his treatment of Martin became public knowledge — forced the Dolphins to reach the same inescapable conclusion. It also forced the NFL to launch an investigation into the workplace environment fostered by coach Joe Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland, for whom character is such an important issue in player evaluation that he infamously asked soon-to-be-first-round-draft-choice Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute a few years back.
Perhaps Ireland should include something like, “Is your father, in fact, an asshole?” in future player interviews.
The piece linked above builds a pretty convincing case that the elder Incognito spent at least part of the weekend defending his little boy on a Miami fan message board, rolling out the incredibly weak “BUT RAPPERS SAY THAT WORD!” defense to justify the use of racial slurs while accusing Martin of being a drug addict and wishing death by AIDS on Miami’s coach and general manager.
And you thought your parents were embarrassing you on the Internet.
After landing in Miami, it seemed Incognito may have mellowed slightly, tweeting a school picture of himself in a pink turtleneck a few weeks back (which, as you can see for yourself below, is pretty sweet) and winning some award that the Dolphins media gives out in an apparent effort to kiss the behinds of the players it covers even more lovingly.
His messages to Martin suggest plenty of darkness remained, though. Incognito talked about his inner turmoil and attempts to quell it through medication — prescribed and otherwise — in an NFL.com feature story, and also discussed the value of therapy.
The piece offers a gauzy view of Incognito, which is contrasted by a video released yesterday by TMZ, recorded around the time the league’s official online outlet was reporting on his maturation and attainment of inner peace.
I’m probably not qualified to dispense psychiatric advice, but it looks like Richie may want to give therapy another shot.
David Staba has written about the Buffalo Bills, among other topics, since 1990 for a variety of outlets, including We Want Marangi since way back in 2012.