NFL: Suspended Richie Incognito explains he is ‘not a racist’ whilst fellow Miami Dolphin team-mates defend him

Offensive Linesman has given first interview since being suspended

On Sunday night, the Miami Dolphins Offensive Lineman, Richie Incognito gave his first in depth television interview since being suspended in an alleged bullying scandal that involved fellow teammate, Jonathan Martin. Sitting down with Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, Incognito admitted he “had taken things too far, and had not meant to hurt [Jonathan Martin]”, whilst also acknowledging that his behaviour “had been a cancer in locker rooms in the past.” Despite this, he was keen to point out that his relationship with Martin was not as fractured as everyone thought.

“I was a close friend of Jonathan’s” said Incognito, “you can ask anybody in the Miami Dolphins locker room, who had Jon Martin’s back the absolute most? And they will undoubtedly tell you, me… I text him [4 days after he left the team] and he text me back saying ‘'I don’t blame you guys. I blame some stuff in the locker room. I blame the culture. I blame what was going on around me.'

Incognito also wanted to clear his name in regard to the voicemail he left Martin several months ago, which contained numerous expletives and racist language.

“Yes, I did leave this voice message. When I see that voicemail, I’m embarrassed by it. I’m embarrassed by my actions. But what I want people to know is, the way Jonathan and the rest of the offensive line and how our teammates communicate, it’s vulgar. It’s not right. When the words are put in the context, I understand why a lot of eyebrows get raised, but people don’t know how Jon and I communicate to one another.

“A week before this went down, Jonathan Martin texted me, 'I will murder your whole (expletive) family.' Now did I think Martin was going to murder my family? Not one bit. I know it was coming from a brother. I knew it was coming from a friend. I knew it was coming from a teammate. That puts in context how we communicate with one another.”

He went on to say “I'm not a racist. And to judge me by that one word is wrong. In no way, shape or form is it ever acceptable for me to use that word. I regret that.”

When asked by Glazer whether the N-word was used regularly in the NFL, Incognito replied “It’s thrown around a lot. It’s a word that I’ve heard Jon use a lot.”

In the final section of his interview, if given the chance to see to Martin now, Incognito said ‘I would give him a big hug… If [Martin] were to say, 'Listen, you took it way too far. You hurt me.’... You know, I would just apologize and I would apologize to his family. They took it as malicious. I never meant it that way.”

The scandal has polarised opinion around the NFL as it has created a divide on whether Martin should have been tougher in dealing with his teammates, or whether Incognito simply went too far.

On Wednesday, Dolphins players were asked to comment on the scandal and were noticeably quick to defend Incognito. Starting Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, 25, led the names of high profile players to so, describing the suspended player as ‘the best teammate you could ask for’. Right Tackle Tyson Clabo also told the Miami Herald, “I’ve been here long enough to know that if Martin had a problem, he didn’t show it. … I think that if you have a problem with somebody … [you should] stand up and be a man”.

In a bid by Jonathan Martin’s representatives to extinguish any idea that the blame for the fallout lay with their client, a statement was released the following day explaining who was at fault.

“Jonathan Martin’s toughness is not at issue… Jonathan endured harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing. He attempted to befriend the same teammates that subjected him to the abuse with the hope that doing so would end the harassment. This is a textbook reaction of victims of bullying. Despite these efforts, the taunting continued. Beyond the well-publicized voicemail with its racial epithet, Jonathan endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate, and daily vulgar comments”

As battle lines begin to be drawn between the two camps, both of the players’ futures with Miami are still unknown. Incognito could technically return to the team’s facilities if he was to appeal his current suspension. However this would likely cause further controversy for the Dolphins organisation, something they will be trying to avoid as they aim to get back to winning football games.

News
news
Voices
voicesThe Ukip leader on why he's done nothing illegal
Arts & Entertainment
artYouth club owner says mural is 'gift from the sky' so he can prevent closure of venue
News
science
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Plans to decriminalise non-payment of television licence fees would cost the BBC £500m according to estimates drawn up within the Corporation
people
News
people
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?