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article imageOp-Ed: Richie Incognito lambasted by sanctimonious media

By Marcus Hondro     Nov 11, 2013 in Sports
The Miami Dolphins played, and lost to, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Monday Night Football Nov. 11 but the game took a backseat to the controversy surrounding the Dolphins. Richie Incognito is suspended, Jonathan Martin on a medical leave.
It may turn out that neither ever plays for the Dolphins again and the two guards are in the thick of a story that at heart concerns the culture of NFL football, with how players relate to one another and how they treat one another. Or is that the story? To some the story is simply about racism, period, about Richie Incognito, who they have labelled a racist, and about how he is a bad human.
Deadspin may be dead wrong on Incognito
That's overly simple but some media are not going to believe anything otherwise. The example here will be a writer for Deadspin, an American sports website owner by Gawker, named Tom Ley. Here's the headline for a Ley story from Sunday, Nov. 10: The "Threatening" Text That Martin Sent To Incognito Was A Dumb Meme.
In his brief diatribe, Ley derided Incognito for using the "I will murder your whole fucking family" text he got from Martin after Martin had left the team, to compare to those he'd sent to Martin where he used the 'N' word. Ley also pointed out that when Incognito spoke with Glazer he "revealed that he had also received joking text messages from Jonathan Martin that could, out of context, appear to be threatening."
Here the sanctimonious Ley goes on:
Incognito went on to explain that he knew Martin's message wasn't a real threat, because it was "coming from a brother." Or maybe he knew it wasn't a threat because the message was delivered as a silly internet meme that included a dog?
Ley finishes with "Doesn't quite carry the same potential to wound as "half-nigger" does." Well, actually, it does. Or it could. It's a creepy text, the dog looks hideous and pictured next to the young woman the effect is jarring. Indeed, out of context, I doubt many of us would feel comfortable receiving that text accompanied by those words.
But Ley and the hip Deadspin are keen to point fingers at others and be the champions of altruism, of acceptable behavior. They're the good white people, anyone who disagrees with them are the bad white people, and doubtless they figure they're toadying favor with persons of color, who'll all love them. Their entire take on this is facile, it's not the whole picture, not by the length of a football field it's not.
Richie Incognito: Sincere regret, courageous interview
Here's something else that Richie Incognito said during his interview, something Ley didn't bother with, after Glazer asked him what he would do if he had a chance to met and speak with Martin now:
"I'd give him a big hug. We've all been through so much," Incognito began. "I'd be like, 'Dude, what's going on? Why didn't you come to me?' If he were to say that you took it way too far, that you hurt me, I would apologize and I would apologize to his family. I never meant it that way."
I saw the Incognito interview. He looked, sounded, sincere. He said he was embarrassed by his actions and that he did go too far. It took courage to go on TV and talk about this. Some of the texts he sent to Martin - they sent one another over 1,100 during their time on the team together - that are now public do make him look bad, but he sucked it up.
I'm guessing Tom Ley doesn't have that kind of hutzpa.
Look, in my view, calling someone a 'nigger' is objectionable, but if it's become a kind of code for brotherhood for some in the NFL then it is up to the players, and their management, to stop it. And if some call white players 'white trash' or something akin to that, while less-offensive given whites haven't had to put up with what blacks have, that, too, should probably stop. But it's an NFL culture thing, or at least it seems to be, not solely a Richie Incognito thing.
And it's not simply a racism thing.
Maybe this affair will lead to that happening, to names based on race no longer being part of the locker, but many of his Miami Dolphin teammates, African-American among them, insist Richie Incognito is not a racist. He's made mistakes but assuming he's a racists, accusing him of that, is not helpful and is very likely not true.
The NFL is looking into all of this and I expect that somewhere along the way we'll learn that Martin has issues beyond his treatment by teammates. And I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere along the way there will be a shot of Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin shaking hands, maybe even sharing that hug Incognito is hoping for.
And let us hope that Tom Ley and Deadspin, and other media that have been quick to condemn one individual player, will report that without prejudice.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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