9

November

Cory’s Corner: Goodell needs to make an example of Incognito

Miami Dolphins appeared in this PSA before games that ran on the scoreboard reminding fans to be civilized.

Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito appeared in this PSA that ran on the Sun Life Stadium scoreboard before games reminding fans to be civilized. He was also on the team’s leadership council.

First it was Michael Vick. Then along came Riley Cooper. Now we have Richie Incognito.

I know Roger Goodell has been labeled as a sheriff in the wild, wild west to some for his way of doling out punishments.

But apparently, he needs to go in a few notches on his law belt.

When the Michael Vick dog fighting case came about in 2007, it was arguably one of the most abhorrent things a player has ever done off the field. He served 21 months in jail for his role in a five-year dog fighting ring. Vick was able to get a starting job back but his public persona has been severly dented.

Then along came Riley Cooper. The loudmouth Eagles receiver who threw N-bombs at a Kenny Chesney concert was rightly vilified for putting the country back 50-60 years. Players  from around the league, which is predominantly African American, still haven’t been able to forgive a guy that spouted off and despite apologizing until he was blue in the face, Cooper could potentially still harbor those feelings deep inside.

And now we’ve got Incognito. Labeling him as a bully is a disservice to bullies. He is a calculated emotional killer that preys on the weak. Judging from the texts and voicemails where he called Jonathan Martin racial epithets and even mentioned that he would kill him, Incognito is worse than the first two guys. I mean, Incognito forced Martin to chip in $15,000 to finance a trip to Las Vegas – a trip that Martin wasn’t even attending. So, in addition to making your fellow offensive lineman’s life a living hell thanks to a verbal assault, you’ve entered into the world of extortion.

The problem is, since the NFL is a macho sport based upon brute strength, most people just shrug their shoulders when they see this type of thing. Many Dolphins players really didn’t notice anything because the meat and potatoes of what was going on they didn’t see or hear. Incognito called out Martin in the locker room but it wasn’t anything that people wouldn’t consider out of the norm for locker room chatter.

I don’t have a problem with hazing, as long as the people handing out the hazing know and understand the line. Shaving someone’s hair, making them bring in doughnuts for a month or even forcing them to dress up in costume for a long flight are all pretty tame. Constantly needling someone by attacking the person, his wife and other areas of his personal life are just wrong.

Brett Favre wasn’t particularly fond of Aaron Rodgers when he came on board in 2005. Yet he wasn’t throwing personal attacks at him or clogging his voicemail and text inbox with racial attacks and saying he’d kill him.

As much as I hate to say this, it looks like this is going to be worse for Martin. If he tries to come back to the Dolphins, many players will approach him gingerly for fear of a percieved joke going haywire or wonder if his perceived “softness” will continue to be a problem. If he goes to another team, how many players in that locker room are going to be willing to trust him?

This is where Goodell steps in. He needs to squash this immediately. He’s not naïve to think that this is an isolated case. There are countless teams, high school to pro that have seen hazing go way too far.

Goodell needs to make Incognito understand that even though a coach apparently told him to toughen Martin up, savage behavior like this will not be tolerated. I also don’t care if a few teammates called Incognito an “honorary black man.” All that means is if they hear Incognito say an N-bomb, they will look the other way.

Especially in this age of knee-jerk vengeance, people need to be more understanding to the emotional state of others. I’m glad it didn’t happen, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that when Martin left the team, he returned with a gun to prove a point.

Perhaps this is a time to give an introspective look at Incognito and see why he is so insecure. Bullies tend to use attacking others as a way of masking their own fears and emotions. So until that mystery is solved, it’s only a matter of time before Incognito preys on his next target.

Goodell needs to make an example of Incognito. By coming down extremely hard now, he should put out any remaining embers of hazing that cross the line.

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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20 Responses to “Cory’s Corner: Goodell needs to make an example of Incognito”

  1. A_Lerxst_in_Packerland says:

    I guess I’m on the same page as Colin Cowherd on this one. I do have a problem with hazing. It has no place in school, sports, society or life in general. I don’t think being abusive in any way is the way to make a somebody a tougher athlete, soldier, human being or anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      I think it’s fine to give rookies or freshmen “extra duties” and make them do silly things… as long as it’s light-hearted and all parties involved are enjoying themselves. That kind of playful joking can create a better bond between the upperclassmen and the new kids, which is important.

      Of course, I think that all falls well short of hazing.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  2. Barutan Seijin says:

    Hazing is unacceptable. Period.

    I’ve never liked Icognito & i’m not surprised to find him at the centre of this. Today he’s saying he feels “betrayed” by Martin. The guy is a clueless sociopath.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    “I also don’t care if a few teammates called Incognito an “honorary black man.” All that means is if they hear Incognito say an N-bomb, they will look the other way.”

    That in itself is a problem….the use of the N-word must be frowned upon and its use by ‘whoever’ must be of equal dose and not continue to be ok if used toward those of the same race it pertains to.

    I don’t care for the word being used by anybody but the restriction process needs to be more stringent from those who make it as an everyday acceptance via music. This of coarse will be infringing of censorship but condemming one for its use outside that realm simply implies discrimination and that is the root of the crux to begin with.

    If a white person is singing a rap song which contains the N-word and is over heard by a black person…would not the white person automatically be called a racist based on the perception while a black person doing same is ignored as its deemed ok because he/she is black.

    The induction to an ‘honorary black status’ allows the use, then the battle to end it is lost until all who can speak it refuse it entirely.

    I’m not condoning Incognito. but the wrath being leveled toward him must also include those who ‘inducted’ him into a ‘honor’ status that allow it to be when it is suitable by those for benefit…..supporters of the ‘toughen him up ‘ group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  4. PackerNation says:

    I think we should resist a rush to judgement here because we simply don’t know all the facts.

    Second, I don’t think Incognito is a good guy but I don’t think he should be demonized or “made an example of”. If he has engaged in conduct detrimental to the team, then the team needs to handle that. But what I’m hearing is that the relationship between Incognito and Martin is a lot more complex than just “he bullied him”.

    Third, at some point in your life, you have to stand up for yourself. Rather than “telling the teacher” you sometimes have to make a stand and live with the consequences. In Martin’s case, he chose flight over fight. That’s his choice; other people have indicated they’d make a different choice. Warren Sapp said if somebody had treated him like that it would have been like “Oh, so you want me to punch you in the mouth”.

    Football is a game that challenges your manhood; it’s an inherent component of the sport, and a part of the appeal. A team relies on each of its members and the NFL is no place for weaklings or sissies.

    I’ll wait until all the facts are out, but I think this all could have been resolved a different way without the national media being involved.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    • Barutan Seijin says:

      It rarely works out like it does in the movies where the scrawny kid finally stands up to the bully and everything is rainbows & unicorns forever after.

      Would Martin’s socking Icognito have made things better? Or would it have incited the rest of the lockerroom to ride Martin harder for resisting the code, ‘Phin tradition, lockerroom chain of command etc. etc. We don’t know & neither did Martin.

      Often the only thing that will stop a bully is the intervention of a higher authority. Philbin & Ireland are complicit here.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

      • Barutan Seijin says:

        I’ll also add that the threats that Icognito sent Martin are illegal. He should be shopping for a criminal defense lawyer.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      Bullying can’t be stopped by the victim, because by definition they are unable or unwilling to defend themselves.

      The truth to stopping bullying is that bystanders need to get involved in a positive way. Instead of ignoring the situation or passively watching, they need to stand up for the victim. They need to show everyone that mistreating others is not okay.

      The only way to stamp out bullying is to change the climate in which it lives.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      • Turophile says:

        Backing of Incognito by other players – doesn’t matter.
        If the coaches encouraged Incognito to be hard on Martin – doesn’t matter (as far as Incognito’s guilt is concerned).
        The words and general tenor of the texts sent by incognito to Martin – matters (a lot).

        The bottom line is that Incognito is responsible for his own actions and pays any penalty as a result of them

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

        • Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

          Just because you authorize a known vigilante to victimize someone, doesn’t make you any less guilty of the crime.

          The extreme to which Incognito went may be beyond the scope of the thinking of the coaches, nonetheless, they are still just as guilty, especially knowing of his prior record.

          This is not and should not exclude any other player who OK’ed any action of abuse on Martin, they are called willing participants and all need be dealt with equally.

          This is why some of the larger scumbags get away with stuff, getting the trigger man seems enough to placate the outrage while the purchaser of such deeds continues on.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

          Incognito definitely bears the weight of the blame, but as my father told me, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Jeff says:

    It has to go both ways , the singer McLemore uses the word CRACKER in his song called thrift shop and nobody cares that it is a racial slur. I say you have to call it both ways.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • John Willard says:

      As an educated African-American, I understand that ‘cracker’ is a racial slur against Caucasians and I long ago made sure to never use it in any type of conversation or communication. I also never use the racial slur ‘nigger’ including any discussion with friends who are African-American. I must say that many friends of mine of the same race, use this slur constantly. I believe all this does is dupe some clueless Caucasian man into using it in conversation, and then they are invariably criticized for being a bigot or racist by an African-American who used it just minutes earlier. We would all be better off if neither race used neither racial slur,ever.

      The other terms I have been trying to eliminate from my vocabulary are “colors”, such as Black, White, Red, etc. I personally believe saying someone is Black or White, or whatever ‘color’ is in itself a type of societal-accepted form of racism. The vast majority of my business associates are not African-American, but Caucasian. Frankly, I do not see their race, but, rather their intelligence, integrity, sense of humor, detail-orientation or whatever else they excell at and maybe what I have learned from them. Personally, I could care less what a person’s racial heritage is. What I care about is the content of that person’s character. That is the bottom line.
      A long-time friend of mine turned me on to this blog, as I am a long-time Packers fan, even though I live in Chicago, and no not in the ghetto nor on the South Side of town. I appreciate this site, because my sense is, number one, even if we disagree, we all love the Packers. Also, I have never seen the slightest hint of racism in all the blogs I’ve read and my perception is the people who blog here, actually care about the players regardless of their race.
      Concerning the Incognito-Martin situation, let all sides of the story come out and then think everything over (if you have the time and inclination) before rendering any judgment. Also, remember, not everyone thinks like you or me or the group of friends you associate with.
      In any event, am a bit melancholy after this game versus the Eagles, because I strongly believe, with AR we win by ten points or better. Oh well, there’s always next week. At least Tolzien has a strong arm…Let’s go get the Giants next week.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Savage57 says:

    Old enough to remember a time when a) this wouldn’t have even made the news, and, b) if it did, it would have been one of those 3 line bits on page 6 opposite the scores.

    Now this sucker is gorging on the bandwidth being allocated to it and growing about 200 times larger than it should because lord knows, all the channels need content and controversy.

    When did the world turn into a giant daycare center? This is the NFL, professional football played by tough men for #*(! sake. Let ‘em handle it between themselves and move on.

    Sheesh!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • Cory Jennerjohn Cory Jennerjohn says:

      But let’s remember that Incognito was the coward. A brave person doesn’t hide behind texts and voicemails. Martin knew that the only way to solve this was by talking it out in person and obviously Incognito didn’t want to do that.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Cory Jennerjohn Cory Jennerjohn says:

    Chad, your father was a smart man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Chad Lundberg says:

    As someone who is 6’3″, I can honestly say that it is SO incredibly easy to be bullied. Someone of my size is though to be not often bullied, but it’s true, I’ve been bullied for a while.

    Bullies don’t work like people may think. They don’t just prey on the weak, they learn who you are first, then they use the trust you’ve built with them against you.

    They learn what your weakness is. For example, I have a condition it is difficult for me to concentrate at times. Basically A.D.D.. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve been ashamed of it. There was honestly a point in my life where I didn’t think I was even smart. That I was incapable. It’s a VERY sensitive issue to me.

    This one co-worker actually learned about that as I built trust with him, and once he learned about my deficiency, he would exploit almost as often as he could. My God, I wanted to quit SO BAD! I had panic attacks, I would call HR, I would have bouts of depression, it was the most horrific experience of my life.

    The thing about Bullies is that people don’t realize that they’re GIFTED at being bullies! They know how to knock you down, and how to manipulate you.

    I absolutely applaud Jonathan Martin for taking a stand against this world class ass hole. This whole story is changing the way the NFL deals with bullies, and deadly/bullish hazing.

    *@#% BULLIES!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. WKUPackFan says:

    Well stated Cory (and Chad), well stated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. packett says:

    Nice to hear sensibleness on this football site. Maybe a lot of people (who don’t appreciate this issue of bullying) withheld their comments. Thanks for that too. I appreciate that this is a world of hypocrisy, and is in sports. Sure there are fine lines crossed on this issues, and worst flagrancies. But, just like refs calling Pass Interference penalties…it an issue of small degrees. Calling out Incognito is the right call. Its not right to just make him an example, but the situation and consequences on JMartin were enough to throw the yellow flag. I appreciate the comments on this article.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0