Maybe it’s a stunt, maybe it’s an ill-advised attempt at a redemption story or maybe it’s a PR person gone rogue. Whatever the reason, the words “Richie Incognito, anti-bullying advocate” now reportedly exist.
Even though it seems to defy belief, Incognito was announced as the national ambassador of Boo2Bullying, an anti-bullying campaign according to a report from ESPN. Incognito, a former Pro Bowl offensive lineman, seemed to confirm the report by retweeting an article about the announcement.
Richie Incognito widely accused of bullying
Let’s go through Incognito’s history of alleged bullying, in case you need a quick refresher. In 2013, Incognito, then a member of the Miami Dolphins, was at the center of a bullying scandal involving teammate Jonathan Martin.
An NFL investigation concluded that Incognito and two teammates engaged in a pattern of harassment toward Martin, with Incognito raining personal threats and racial slurs against Martin, who is African-American. The fallout of the scandal was Incognito spending a year away from the league before signing with the Buffalo Bills, where he was named a team captain. Martin, who has dealt with mental health issues, was traded to the Dolphins, retired from football in 2015 and was arrested this year for making threats toward his old high school.
Not stopping at Martin, the NFL investigation also concluded the three players harassed another unnamed offensive lineman as well as a Japanese assistant trainer, who was the subject of frequent racial taunts. Additionally, Incognito was accused last season by Jacksonville Jaguars Yannick Ngakoue of using racial slurs during a game and was also reportedly held for mental evaluation after throwing a dumbbell at a gym patron.
Richie Incognito’s story of being bullied
Incognito has denied basically every accusation levied against him, but he did acknowledge some of the history in Boo2Bullying’s statement, saying “I can personally relate to it from both sides — being bullied and being accused of being a bully.” Incognito relayed the following story of when he was supposedly bullied:
“A group of guys actually threw rocks at me,” he said. “My dad told me not to worry and to focus on football. So I grinded, and at this point I was really starting to excel. After a few weeks of not letting it bother me, I actually became friends with the guys that bullied me. They are still my friends today, and anytime I go home now, I make sure we find some time to catch up.”
That sounds somewhat rough for Incognito, so hopefully he is at least serious about doing good with Boo2Bullying. However, the past accusations against Incognito, who is also well-known as one of the NFL’s dirtiest players, sure make this look like a story of a widely known bully facing little-to-no scrutiny as he tries to bury his past.
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