News Off the Ball

Monday 22 September 2014

Off The Ball: Incognito affair shows bullying and racism allowed to thrive in NFL

Donny Mahoney

Published 13/11/2013 | 01:00

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Richie Incognito is in hot water over his treatment of team-mate Jonathan Martin, however, he has received plenty of support from the team's fans
Richie Incognito

Sports fandom is ideally a leisurely activity best spent amongst friends and like-minded strangers. Not so with American football, which these days is as morally compromising as cheering for the lions in the Coliseum in ancient Rome.

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This week's glimpse into the sport's twisted underbelly came via the Miami Dolphins. Lineman Jonathan Martin left the team after an 'emotional breakdown' which he claimed was caused by psychological and physical abuse from his team-mate Richie Incognito who, despite his amazing name, may be one of the 10 worst Americans alive right now.

Among other offences, Incognito (who's white) called Martin a "half-n***** piece of s***" via voicemail.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the story is the litany of support Incognito has received from team-mates and current players, many of whom also blame Martin for not manning up and dealing with his differences with Incognito with blunt force.

It turns out the testosterone-crazed pandemonium that makes American football one of the most exciting sporting spectacles on the planet also breeds, and is a by-product of, bullying, racism and violence. For his part, Incognito said that he acted out of love for Martin. What would hate look like?

Irish Independent

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