Incognito appears to be victim and perpetrator of bullying

November 6, 2013 

One hopes that at every level, be it high school or college or professional football, coaches now will use Richie Incognito as an example of how physical skills must be accompanied by emotional stability. With allegations that Incognito, now not playing for the Miami Dolphins, used racial slurs and intimidation against a team member, the 320-pound lineman’s bad behavior might have caught up with him.

This is a multifaceted story. It appears from news reports that Incognito was bullied as a young man and, as sometimes happens, became a bully himself. In his professional career, he’s gotten multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and once was named as the “dirtiest player” in the NFL in a magazine survey of players.

A professional team should not reward such behavior. Pro football is dangerous, and players such as Incognito make it more so.

Let this angry young man serve instead as an example of what sportsmanship is not and of the price that can be paid when physical instinct and emotion overcome the rules of a game and common sense. Will it take Incognito seriously injuring another player to get the attention of his coaches and team owners? They must not let it go that far, for the sake of the game and all the young men who play it on sandlots and in stadiums.

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