Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Most-Ironically Named Man in the World

There is no Need like
the Lack of a Friend. 
- Irish Proverb

"I think Richie Incognito is a racist," said analyst Tom Jackson. "I think he is bigoted. I think he's a bully. I think it's wrapped all into one package. I don't want people to be under the perception that conduct in an NFL locker room, that somehow we are not aware of what is . . . OK and not OK. I've heard a lot of that today, well the locker room is a place where people are very different. They're not this different."

So said ESPN analyst Tom Jackson Monday night as part of ESPN's Monday Night Football coverage.  For those under a certain age who may be familiar with Jackson solely for his role as a professional talking head on TV, it is worth pointing out that Jackson was a very good NFL player for fourteen seasons - all of which he spent as a linebacker for the Denver Broncos.  He played on two Super Bowl teams in Denver, made the Pro Bowl three times, was voted an All-Pro four times, the Broncos' most inspirational player (by his teammates) six times and, in 1992, became the fourteenth member of the team's Ring of Honor.  He played the game and did so, quite candidly, at a level that mouth-breeding Richie Incognito could never aspire to attain.

Jackson's television colleague - Hall of Famer Mike Ditka (he whose nickname when he played was "Iron") who spent 30+ years in the NFL as a player and a coach - was equally harsh - and appropriately so in my estimation - in his assessment of Incognito and his actions.  Ditka, not surprisingly, informed Sports Illustrated's Richard Dietch that being an "old school" guy, his approach for handling Incognito would have been considerably different from the one that Incognito's Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin opted to take.  “When this would happen in my time: you take the bully and you kick his butt.", Dikta said.  “I mean you go to ‘fist city’ with this guy.”

What has happened in Miami is ugly.  It is also - to me at least - a little frightening and more than a little eye-opening.  I for one never considered the possibility that a human being the size of an NFL offensive lineman (6'5" or 6'6" and 300 pounds) could be the victim of a bully.  The fact that he was - and that the bully (and please spare me the "alleged" bullshit when it comes to Incognito.  Spend a few minutes listening to his voice mail messages for Martin and reading the text messages he sent to him and then try to run that alleged jive past yourself OK Slick?) was his teammate is stunning to me. 

However, it gets raised to the level of utterly incomprehensible that no one else in that locker room stepped up to get Martin's back.  The Dolphins have fifty-three men on their roster.  They have a coaching staff of twenty-one - including an Offensive Line Coach AND an Assistant Offensive Line Coach.  None of the seventy-four is named Sgt. Schultz.  Yet, the world at large is now being asked to believe that no one knew anything, saw anything or heard anything about anything up until the point last week where Martin decided he had endured enough and walked out of the team's practice facility?  Bullshit.  Utter, complete bullshit. 

Richie Incognito has revealed his true colors - and sorry Fins fans but they are not turquoise and orange.  Worse yet, he is not the only person cashing a paycheck from this team who needs to take a good hard look at himself in the mirror and try to last ten seconds without wanting to punch the face staring back at him.  

It has been written since time immemorial that, "A fish rots from the head down."  The events in south Florida that have come to light during this past week suggest that it ain't just fish....  

....but Dolphins too.  


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