Richie Incognito: locker room bully or media made monster?

Drew Feniello, Staff Writer

Mid-way through the NFL season, the media should be talking about playoff pushes, teams who aren’t living up to expectations, or players making a statement for MVP honors.

Instead, media outlets such as ESPN & the NFL Network have been talking about a bullying scandal that happened/is happening in the Miami Dolphins organization.

A few weeks back, it was reported that Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin had left the team for personal reasons. As the media tends to do, they jump the gun on how and why the situation occurred, most of the time making biased judgments that can affect the way we as fans look at both teams and players.

It was reported that Dolphins starting guard Richie Incognito had been bullying Martin to a point where Martin became emotional distressed, causing him to leave the team.

Incognito strongly denied these accusations, tweeting at ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter: “Shame on you for attaching my name to false speculation. I won’t be holding my breath for an apology.”

As the days went on, more reports came out attaching Incognito’s name to this negative situation, with the media presenting us with information about how Incognito has been a bully since college, players hate him, and supposed actions he took against Martin.

Texts were revealed from Incognito to Martin, where Incognito used slurs that may not be written in any paper.

Incognito blames these texts on the persona of the locker room, saying how things said in the locker room are not meant for the public ears, but rather for a group of grown men who spend countless hours a day with each other, more than they spend with their individual families.

Players and analysts have backed Incognito, while others, including former Jets linebacker and current NFL Network Analyst Bart Scott, who said “He would have got a swift kick in the butt and would have been thrown out the door. It’s no way we would’ve allowed him to come in here.”

Incognito, along with Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill have stated that they thought that Martin and Incognito were the best of friends, with Incognito stating to Fox’s Jay Glazer in an interview that he always had Martin’s back.

Some have called Martin “soft” and reports state that the Dolphins’ coaches asked Incognito to “toughen up” Martin.

While none of us know what exactly transpired in the Dolphins’ locker room, one thing we know for sure is that the media has turned this situation, where a grown man is going through depression, into a circus.

You cannot watch an episode of SportsCenter without hearing one analyst comment on how he or she perceives the situation. As I sit here and write this, I have received a text message from ESPN regarding the situation.

The media has blown this entire situation out of proportion, leading us to believe Incognito is this monster. With bullying having such a strong impact in the lives of people, especially kids, the media has now made Richie Incognito the face of bullying in America, without ever having heard a statement from Jonathan Martin.

We have seen this happen before, and now the Miami Dolphins organization has had the media damage their reputation, and the lives of both Richie Incognito, and Jonathan Martin.