Dolphins' Incognito issued troubling texts to teammate
November 4, 2013 11:11 PM
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
Dolphins guard Richie Incognito allegedly sent racial slurs and threats in text messages to teammate Jonathan Martin, who has left the team.
By The Associated Press
DAVIE, Fla. -- Richie Incognito's stall inside the Miami Dolphins locker room was loaded with packages, papers and plenty of football equipment Monday.
The sign was gone, though.
"There are two things Richie Incognito does not like," read a small sign that until very recently adorned the front of the now-suspended lineman's locker. On one line in small orange letters, the first entry on that list was "Taxes." The second line, in larger black type, was "Rookies."
"He's a funny guy," Dolphins cornerback Will Davis said Monday. "Everybody loves him."
There's not much to laugh about in the Dolphins locker room these days, not with offensive lineman Jonathan Martin having left the club to handle emotional issues. And Incognito, his alleged tormentor, since banished from the team in yet another entry on a long list of troubling events marring his playing career.
"None of it shocks me," said New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, who played with Incognito in college at Nebraska and then with the St. Louis Rams. "Richie is ... this seems to be a person with a tortured soul."
Two people have told The Associated Press that Incognito sent Martin text messages that were racist and threatening. The Dolphins suspended Incognito on Sunday night for conduct detrimental to the team.
Agents for the two players didn't respond to requests for comment. Martin is with his family in Los Angeles for counseling.
The entire culture of the Dolphins locker room is now being scrutinized, including whether racism and bullying was not only going on, but also unnoticed or permitted.
Incognito's checkered past is well-chronicled.
He was charged with assault, caught spitting on an opponent, kicked out of a game and reportedly restrained by teammates while trying to fight another -- and that was just at Nebraska, which eventually kicked him off the team.
And in the NFL, he has been called one thing: a dirty player.
"That's just what he does. That's his whole makeup is to play dirty and hurt guys," said Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. "Everybody knows that. I think the NFL really needs to buckle down on it now, because it's bigger than trying to hurt other guys, you're trying to hurt guys on your team, mentally."
Martin left the team last Monday after an incident in the dining room, which has been portrayed as a simple prank.
The situation spiraled out of control Sunday, with Incognito posting several tweets lashing out at media reports and saying he wanted his name cleared. The Dolphins said they had no accusations from anyone to suggest misconduct had taken place. Not long afterward, one of Martin's representatives reached out, and the team -- which asked the NFL to probe the workplace culture as well -- suspended Incognito.
It's now unclear if Incognito will be seen in the NFL again. And, Brown couldn't help but think of the signs of trouble he witnessed as a teammate of Incognito's long ago.
"Signs of depression, things like that," Brown said. "Again, somebody has something going on in their head they can't get past and it's unfortunate. At this point it may cost him his career."
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