It remains possible, even likely, that suspended Dolphins guard Richie Incognito is a bully and a jerk.
But according to former teammates, he’s not viewed as a racist within the locker room (despite leaving racial slurs on Jonathan Martin’s voicemail).
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Incognito was more accepted by African American teammates than Martin was.
“Richie is honorary,” a former Dolphins player who knew both said. “I don’t expect you to understand because you’re not black. But being a black guy, being a brother is more than just about skin color. It’s about how you carry yourself. How you play. Where you come from. What you’ve experienced. A lot of things.”
Three Dolphins who were willing to be named (Mike Wallace, Brent Grimes and Michael Egnew) all said they don’t consider Incognito to be a racist.
And while the question of whether Incognito would be viewed in the same light as Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper pales in comparison to the other charges, it’s obviously a factor to some there.
But it shouldn’t be.
A co-worker who contributes to or creates a hostile work environment should be the one being questioned in this situation.
A player who raises the issue of his own workplace safety should not have to answer questions about whether he’s tough enough to continue in that job.
And the notion that a player might be considered “more black” than another — or that it would excuse certain behaviors — is simply a twisted view on race relations and perhaps a symptom of the internal insanity that would allow it to happen.