Special to the Tribune-Star
The mess the Miami Dolphins find themselves in is a simple case of bullying. The man who would like to be rather “incognito,” Richie Incognito, is not. The entire world knows about him now and his bullying may have been sanctioned by his Miami Dolphins’ football team.
Richie Incognito probably has been a bully ever since he got bigger than everybody else. It’s easy to be a bully and steal the other kids’ candy when you’re the biggest kid in school. His behavior pattern began to show up in college where he got into trouble at two different institutions. The Indianapolis Colts had Incognito on their draft board with initials beside his name that stood for “he’s trouble.” But, if you’re well over six feet and you weigh more than 300 pounds, you may be worth the risk if you’re a football organization. Evidently, the Dolphins thought so.
What we have here is probably not as racist as it sounds. What we have is a clash of culture. Jonathan Martin, the African American player involved, comes from very well-educated parents. Most likely, they were glad their son was going to a good university (Stanford) where football prowess is treated as something important, but your intellectual activity, knowledge and studies are even more so. Martin, because of his parents, already knew football was just a means to an end. It is not the end-all of everything. Or, certainly, it doesn’t have to be.
Incognito may not be the total moron he appears to be, but nobody has ever accused him of being an intellectual giant. He has been accused of being a rather ordinary giant.
So, this player who went to Stanford and obviously has some ideas for life outside of football may not be the “rah, rah, kill the enemy” kind of guy you often encounter in a sports locker room. If that’s the case, you may want to bring him around to more of a “jock” mentality. And if football isn’t everything, you intimidate, you bully, and you try to scare him to make it so. As we said, Jonathan Martin knows it isn’t everything and, therefore, took a stand against Richie Incognito.
Somebody else will probably pick up Incognito eventually, attempt to clean him up and make him presentable to the rest of the world. It may work and it may not, but no matter how it turns out, it should be a lesson for everybody at any level, at any contact sport. Richie Incognito is what he is, and it’s just plain not very nice.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.