CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
The Curious Case of Richie In-cog-Negro.
NORTH CAROLINA-(BASN)-Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incignito’s locker boasted: “There are two things I don’t like taxes and rookies.”
There is no other evidence needed in this court case.
Because, I am pretty sure Incignito is a man of his word.
For, Icignito’s hatred for “rookies” has gotten him in a lot of trouble throughout his turbulent nine-year NFL career, which in 2009 earned him to be named the dirtiest player in a poll conducted by Sporting News.
And, even though, hate is a word we “HATE” to use, it is a word which former NFL defensive player Lawrence Jackson used to describe Incignito on Twitter on Monday.
“Hate is a strong word but I’ve always hated Incignito. Just for perspective, he’s the guy that makes you want to spit in his face……”
Unfortunately, for Incognito, who has admitted battling anger issues and bouts with depression, is currently the new face of bullying and hazing in the NFL after a voicemail left for his team mate Jonathan Martin was released to the media.
Therefore, in this discussion involving Incognito’s behavior in locker room, I turn to the wisdom of Oprah Winfrey, who once stated, “Hurt people; hurt people.”
While this Aha-moment tries to simplify a complicated issue of hazing in the locker room, the bully in the locker room, is like the 800-pound Gorilla in the room, which nobody wants to recognize.
All of this pure speculation, however, only my bias opinion, which can’t be backed-up by any evidence whatsoever in this case involving Incognito-and-Martin, it simply provides sports fans a peak into the mindset of a football player in the NFL.
For this reason, I feel Incognito is the classic example of a bully, who wrecks havoc everywhere he goes.
Matter of fact, his inflated self-esteem, emotional flatness, and lack of conscience, which is probably driven by his quest for power, dominance and uncontrollable rush to create senseless “chaos,” is simply a facade to hide his insecurity in a league, where he, literally, was a nobody.
Why? Do I say this? Because, I have had first-hand experience of witnessing a white player similar to Incognito in my time as a football player at a HBCU, who was embraced, accepted and protected by other Black players, who in their own ignorance, gave him a “ghetto-pass” to tell “Black Mama jokes, sleep with Black girls, and fight other Black players on the team even while attending a Black college.
As a result, with the bloody rampage of a white kid in a league dominated by African-Americans, Incognito probably fully emerged himself into the locker room’s sub-culture, where the N-word was spit out of player’s mouth frequently, as a term of endearment.
Therefore, after developing a “streetwise” attitude, which probably involved “mastering” a few “black handshakes,” wearing his football starter cap backwards and listening to a “little” Hip-Hop in between, Incognito was eventually considered “cool” by a couple of Black players due to way he handled his “business” on and off the field.
And, gradually, overtime, a player, who probably was still searching to find his own identity and a permanent home in a league, where careers are short and friendships fleeting, started to believe he was “one of the homeboys” after being called “cool” and referred to as begin “down” shamefully was allowed to comfortably without repercussion to use the “N-word” in the presence of other Black players, while bullying another African-American player without protest.
For this reason, Incognito is a conformist and a coward, who in his attempt to bully another Black player, was only seeking shelter or group protection in fear of losing his own position and social status in a hierarchy of bullies, who roam the locker room.
In effect, he always found himself threatened by in-coming rookies, who probably were more talented than him and terrorized them in order from being terrorized himself or exposed.
Why? Because, deep down, he was probably lonely himself in the locker room full of African-Americans.
Ironically, this has become a reoccurring theme, usually amongst white entertainers like Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, and recently Miley Cyrus, who seemingly surround themselves around Black bodyguards, who often offer them protection from other black people, while they pretend to be “bad-asses” and “tough” on stage.
Plus, if it is true that the “abused becomes the abuser”, Richie, who like most NFL players, love the structure and the gang camaraderie that the NFL provides.
In effect, they utilize a mob-like mentality while in the lock room in order to bully other players, whom they feel aren’t “tough enough” to be a part of their clan.
Because, surprisingly, NFL teams are actually a type of surrogate family for many players, who often find more comfort in them than their own dysfunctional families at home.
And, sadly, if most players like members of the military, are not submerged in this control-environment, where their lives are structured by schedules, team meetings, practice, and Sunday games, most would spin-out of control.
Therefore, if they are released or cut from their team, their coaches and their extended family with an honorable discharge or dishonorable discharge due to poor performance or bad attitudes, some players feel neglected and rejected, which leads many of them to engage in self-destructive behavior in order to be noticed by taking performance enhanced drugs, fighting in practices, throwing temper tantrums in the locker room, drinking alcohol, or snorting cocaine to cope with their depression.
And, unfortunately, like the military servicemen they emulate on the football field, some of these former fraternity members become homeless and hopeless after years of engaging in combat.
So, in the fear of losing their football livelihood and friends in the locker room, players like Incognito formulate harsh hazing techniques, pranks, scams, con games, death threats, protection rackets and cheap shots in order to preserve their place on a roster of 53 by running away unproven rookies.
It is quite juvenile in nature.
But, extremely effective.
A simple form of Darwin’s “survival of the fittest.”
In effect, the process of manipulation and victimization starts early in training camp.
So, players like Incognito, who have been labeled bullies, become members of hazing committees, where they sniff out the vulnerability and weakness in other young naive players like bloodhounds in order to inflict “a little” pain and misery in their lives, while “guarding” their positions on the team and hiding their insecurities.
Eric D.Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television, with a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Editor and Chief of Black Athlete Sports Network, where his articles appear daily along with his controversial cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.” Graham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org