Richie Incognito might be the new “Pacman” we saw in 2005. This has put yet another dent in the NFL deviants Hall of Fame. The overall sportsman mentality should not be merged with illegal activity which is occasionally seen in NFL stars. For this reason, in 2007 the National Football league, commissioner Roger Goodell, introduced a new conduct policy which applies to players’ personal lives.
During this enactment, Adam “Pacman” Jones, Titans defense player made headlines. Jones was involved in a violent fight which led to a shooting and one man paralyzed. During his suspension, the player was traded between the Titans and Dallas Cowboys. After his reinstatement, Jones was found culpable for an altercation with his bodyguard which is a violation of the NFL conduct policy. This incident would be the start his “indefinite suspension.” Luckily for him, the indefinite is really a definite punishment. Jones later signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, but would find himself facing more criminal charges in the future.
People like Jones and Vick- the Atlanta, Falcons player who plead guilty to dog fighting charges and use of euthanasia- are just some of the characters representing modern day football. The next public code infraction comes with an incident that has rarely, if ever, made the news.
Reports of the select few Dolphins members resurface as the investigation was finalized and Incognito suspended. Incognito has been staying active with his twitter account since the parting ways of Jonathan Martin last year who claims the harassment was too much to bear. The other players named as instigators were John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, which were the same two individuals along with Incognito who had ridiculed one of their assistant trainers for his nationality. Does this path lead Incognito in becoming a new “Pacman” Jones?
Some of the “jokes” directed at Martin involved sexual innuendos, and threatening statements projected toward his mother and sister.
During his leave, Martin was reported seen going to a hospital for treatment. Not much information was disclosed for possible injuries inflicted by other teammates. The final report that was released this year does not indicate any violence besides a physical fight which occurred at a party the previous year.
Martin’s agent, Kenneth Zuckerman, reports that his client is feeling “vindicated” by the report and is now ready to continue his football career.
On the other side of the field, Incognito claims he never bullied Martin, while his attorney, Mark Schamel, states the investigator’s report, by Ted Wells, was “replete with errors.” This report, however, refers to a book that was confiscated for the investigation. Incognito allegedly kept count of his taunts he and other linemen directed towards “Jmart.”
The most recent tweets from Incognito attempt to deflect the resentment waged against him. Feb. 12 he writes, “Fact: Jonathan Martin told me he thought about taking his own life in May 2013 b/c he wasn’t playing well.” “I apologize to all the women out there that I offended with my text messages to my close personal friend.”
Tedy Bruschi and Darren Woodson talk on ESPN about the outcome of the investigation. Bruschi mentions that NFL banter consists of the push and push back sporting relationship, but now there is going to be a shift and people will see much more of the “workplace” mentality in and out of the locker room.
Though Incognito claims he was trying to “toughen up the rookie,” not all personalities handle the type of hazing behavior seen from the Dolphins players. In the Wells’ report, a pattern of harassment was described with racial slurs and derogatory language. The investigation into this matter is reported to be unprecedented and will mark a shift in the way NFL athletes are allowed to interact with one another. Wells mentions one of the conflicting points made in Incognito’s defense was the participation on behalf of Martin himself during what is called, “verbal sparring.” Martin allegedly never made clear that his emotions were affected. The investigation concluded that this was due to a victim mentality, where the abused person attempts to diminish the offensive treatment by integrating into it.
The official report claims the NFL’s workplace rules should be adjusted or enforced in a manner that won’t jeopardize the culture or the respect for one another.
At the Bengals symposium Jones speaks about his mistakes he made in 2005. He tells the young athletes to always keep the game like business. He also alludes to his agents being sub-par, or not thoroughly checked-out, and also unprofessional, which may have led to the altercation between Jones and his bodyguard. It will continue to weigh heavily on the Football League to promote a healthy image for aspiring football stars and young fans. Incognito will be watched for further infractions, as he has now been marked a new “Pacman” of 2014. As far as interpersonal relations go, the “workplace” will be under scrutiny for many years to come.
Editorial By Lindsey Alexander