If head coach Joe Philbin had his way, then the Miami Dolphins would have sent Richie Incognito packing and we probably would have never heard about this whole saga. In fact, Jonathan Martin would have never snapped, never left the team, and the Dolphins reputation as an organization would have been intact. That sounds like a good thing overall, but I’m very glad that the issues from this Martin-Incognito bullying case have come to the forefront. We needed to have these discussions and hear everything, because it’s been a learning process for fans, media members, and maybe even players and teams alike. These issues aren’t going away any time soon, and Incognito’s actions have created a sense of urgency in the form of answers. That’s one of the reasons why the NFL has launched a very thorough investigation into the Dolphins organization, and it’s been disturbing to hear that players are not cooperating with the lead investigator.
Anyway, the red flags on Richie Incognito were there long before this incident. He’s always been known as one of the dirtiest players in the NFL, and you can just ask Houston Texans defensive end how dirty Incognito is. Plus, Incognito’s issues go back to his college days, and they also go back to his days with the St. Louis Rams when he was kicked off the team. To call Incognito a “model citizen”- as one front office worker told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen when the story first broke- is purely delusional, and even Incognito admitted himself before being signed by the Dolphins that he isn’t a “model citizen”.
That lack of model citizenry was seen last year when Incognito sexually harassed a volunteer at a golf charity run by the Dolphins organization, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin wanted to release Incognito following the incident. Philbin, unfortunately, didn’t get his way, as the Dolphins decided to hold onto Incognito.
I think this report is a strong point of vindication for Philbin, because this points to Incognito’s stay on the team as being pure ignorance on the part of Jeff Ireland and the Dolphins front office. I mean, somebody in the front office did call Incognito a “model citizen”, so there seems to be some backwards thinking there. Philbin likely knew how much of a headcase and issue Incognito was, whereas the Dolphins wanted to keep a starting offensive lineman on a team whose line is thin. Incognito is honestly only an average player, but the Dolphins needed to keep him from a personnel standpoint due to their lack of depth. Due to his bullying and the fact that he was a ring leader for ignorance and bullying, keeping him was not justifiable and led to further dysfunction within the Dolphins locker room.