Local anti-bullying activists wary of Bills adding Richie Incognito

Rex Ryan openly declared he was trying to “build a bully,” and then went out and signed one.

So it stands to reason that in Buffalo, one of the centers of nationwide non-bullying movements, the signing of Richie Incognito might not be going over so well.

Tim Graham of the Buffalo News talked to local advocates, and as you might imagine, they’re not thrilled with the addition of the guard who was out of the league last year after the Dolphins bullying scandal.

Of course, that wasn’t his first instance of abusive behavior, which included a 2012 incident at a Dolphins-sponsored golf tournament, in which he was accused of rubbing his golf club against a woman’s privates, knocking the glasses off her head and throwing water at her face. A civil lawsuit was settled out of court in that case.

It does feel like a slap in the face,” said Amanda Nickerson, director of the University at Buffalo’s Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention. “That this is happening right here in Buffalo.”

Attention to the cause peaked in Buffalo after the 2011 suicide of local high school student Jamey Rodemeyer, who complained about being the target of homophobic bullying since middle school. His cause became a national phenomena, with everyone from Lady Gaga to the television show “Glee” making reference.

And with the attention that Incognito and Ryan will bring to the Bills, it’s a tough moment for Rodemeyer’s father, who said he’s a Bills fan.

“I just hope he’s turned over a new leaf,” Tim Rodemeyer said of Incognito. “You have to be concerned with his pattern of behavior, but it’s a team trying to win. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.

“But if something else happens, they better get rid of him. I would not be happy if they kept him.”

Nickerson said it was odd for Buffalo, a center for research on the topic, to become the home of a player who by all rights should be Exhibit A in their presentations.

“Can people be redeemed? Should we give second chances?” Nickerson asked. “Absolutely, if we’re talking about a kid or a first offense.

“I’m concerned about it. If it was just Incognito’s issues from 2013, that would be one thing. But there’s been a history of aggressive and violent and demeaning behavior that is hard to ignore. . . .

“People should hear from him, and not just an empty message. What specifically has he learned from his past? What he done to take steps to change it? If he had treatment or intervention, how did it make him reflect on his behavior?”

The Bills insist they’re taking the issue seriously, with owner Terry Pegula and his wife Kim meeting with Incognito before he was signed. They say they’re convinced Incognito is working to fix things, and not just his image.

If that turns out to not be the case, their community will be watching.

80 responses to “Local anti-bullying activists wary of Bills adding Richie Incognito

  1. For his time in Baltimore, I am a fan of Rex Ryan. That being said, when is he ever going to learn to hold his tongue and stop saying stupid things?

  2. Anti-bullying activists must really dislike watching UFC fights or any boxing pre-fight promotions. Is Martin expected to come to the field with homemade cookies he’s been baking everyday? This sport is for tough guys and these activists should watch something they like instead.

  3. Normal people are wary of “Anit-bullying activists” who appear to be dead set on bullying a football player.

  4. I am not in favor of bullying from anyone however I also don’t think the Pegula’s, Rex Ryan or Incognito himself owes anyone an explaination. Terry has said they had a long talk with Incognito and are satisfied he realizes his mistakes from the past. Although talk is cheap I’m also sure Ryan won’t have any problem cutting Incognito if he reverts to his previous habits so all these people whining about the hire need to chill out.

  5. Of course he should get a 2nd chance. Most times that people truly “turn around” their life is after they’ve lost everything… Much like when alcholics hit rock bottom and it finally hits them to see the consequences of their actions.

    I’m all for 2nd chances, but if there is even a hint that he hasn’t changed, then give him the boot immediately.

  6. None of us know what some of these football players have been through as children, or what kind of parents they had. How they were treated. Our prisons are full of people who, for the most part, didn’t have an ideal childhood. Same deal with guys like Adrian Peterson and Richie Incognito. These guys just need to get help so that they can overcome their past, and be productive adults. Most bullies that I’ve known were abused at home as children. A lot of these people can’t afford to get help. These NFL players can. It’s easy to solve a problem by pointing the finger at someone else. Much harder to solve it by looking in the mirror. We can all help these guys and all other bullies too, and their victims. But we don’t like to look in the mirror. We allow a certain amount of child abuse, and we call it discipline. Not every parent is Albert Einstein and they don’t know limits. Many were abused themselves. As long as we accept abuse as a way of raising children, we’re just going to have to accept the Richie Incognitos of the world, and all the other violent criminals they prey on women and young children. But we’d have to look in the mirror and that’s hard work. Much easier to point the finger and grab a beer.

  7. Is this group not familiar with football players? If you wanted to find one group of people that are likely to be bullies from an early age, football players is where you would start.

  8. Oh horse dung. The guy has been out the league for a year. That’s punishment enough. He owes no one anything else except to play hard and keep himself out of trouble. This silliness of wanting to parade him around and force him to answer inane questions from anti bullying organizations doesn’t mean a thing except to give some people warm fuzzies inside. Richie’s conduct from here on out will do the talking for him.

  9. Oh for the love of god. Jonathan Martin is a deceitful backstabber. There’s a reason why the entire Dolphins locker room spoke out in support of Incognito at the time of the incident. Richie Incognito is a harmless meathead. Jonathan Martin is a treacherous snake, guilty of the same ills he accused Incognito of, if you read their text message convos.

    What really happened is mentally fragile entitled crybaby Jonathan Martin cracked because he was benched for being terrible at left tackle and was being replaced by Bryant McKinnie.

  10. Awwww, the PC groups are out in force because they don’t like something. Guess what? The big business of the NFL doesn’t care about a local anti-bullying lobby group. They want to win football games. Grow a pair.

  11. and so the transformation of the Bills locker room into a dumpster fire has begun. Bills fans, look at the Jets locker room and you will see your future in 4 years. enjoy.

  12. Bullying is a huge problem for children … not so much for adults. Maybe they should concentrate there. But of course it wouldn’t make the papers if they did.

  13. Buffalo is a center of the anti-bullying movement? I honestly had never heard that before….weird.

  14. Do not give these “activists ” a free pass on this.

    football is a sport based on taking advantage of the weak. Either your fighting for a win or fighting for a roster spot or playing time.

    Incognito did nothing wrong. He was blackballed last year because of image.

    I guarantee to you if he played for the Patriots he would not have been suspended.

  15. I guess everyone in the city of Buffalo grew up getting participation medals. Give it a rest, the guy paid with a year of his career for something that goes on in every locker-room from middle school on up. If Vick gets a second chance, this guy does too.

  16. You know you failed at life when “anti-bullying activist” precedes or follows your name. These “anti-bullying activist” should become “stand up for yourself activist”

  17. Seriously.

    Let everyone who has never behaved badly or made a mistake, raise their hand.

    Yeah, I thought so.

    We’re so judgmental when its not us or a family member.

    People in glass houses…

  18. Everybody seems so damn sensitive now-a-days, yes the guy is a grade A jerk. But it doe it mean he shouldn’t be able to earn a living? According to some the answer would be yes. Get over it.

  19. Who joins a group? No one cares about your group outside of the 0.00000001% of the world’s population involved in it.

  20. If you look at the text messages between Incognito and Martin you can instantly tell that they were good friends. Was there nasty stuff said in their conversations… yes, but it was done on both ends. Martin gave it right back to Incognito. There was no bullying, none. Things got twisted and it was pushed into the bullying category. Incognito was always checking on Martin, making sure he was alright… People need to get over what happened in the past and worry about what happens now. If Incognito gets into any trouble, even something minor, I guarantee the Bills will drop him at the first sign of an issue. No worries.

  21. Get over it bullying group. Where were you 30 years ago when everyone was being bullied? I’m not scarred.

  22. It’s really none of their business who the Bills decide to employ. Considering their cause, they were probably going to be mad/offended at something one way or another anyways. Let them be. Their decision to feel butthurt won’t have any impact on the Bills whatsoever. This is a non-issue, particularly with regard to football.

  23. I’ve never been a fan of Incognito, mostly because when he was a Ram, he took stupid penalties all the time. But the guy has more than served his time. I’m sure he knows the microscope he’ll be under. We stopped burning people at the stake a long time ago…let the guy play.

  24. Incognito needs to address the bullying issue with Bills Fans. Many Bills Fans want their team to be Smart, Hard Nosed and Determined to bring a Championship to Buffalo.

  25. The game of football includes intimidation and physically imposing your will on others, perhaps these organizations should be going after the game as a whole.

  26. I wish I was good at football entertainment, that way I could make millions of dollars too. But since I don’t and don’t even like football people who play football should act how I would act if I were playing not act how they themselves choose to act

  27. good thing these wimps weren’t around in the 1940’s otherwise we’d all be speaking german or japanese right now

  28. Here comes the Waaaaaaambulance!

    The guy had a bullying problem in the lockeroom.. The NFL addressed it; Incognito addressed it; Richie had tons of counseling (on top of other medical services provided) and now you’re whining because he’s trying to start over (on a personal level) while continuing (more like resurrecting) his Pro Football career..

    Essentially you’re telling us that “People can’t change and DO NOT deserve a second chance (unless it happens somewhere other than Buffalo, NY)”..

    *** Amanda Nickerson, director of the University at Buffalo’s Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention sounds like she’s just SHAMELESSLY grabbing some headlines at the expense of Richie Incognito..

    BTW – I’m not an Incognito fan but I’ve been through a lot, seen a lot and KNOW FOR A FACT THAT PEOPLE CAN CHANGE.. Bullying is a LEARNED BEHAVIOR so, therefor, can be UNLEARNED (trained out so that the person knows the difference between what is right and what is wrong).. Seems to me that a director of a College (department) should know the difference and be more open to acceptance and forgiveness!

  29. In my days everybody got teased and bullied. For EVERYTHING. Getting a haircut or even new shoes for crying out loud. Stop raising a bunch wussies. We also didn’t have ADD, ADHD, or any other nonsense. You were a spaz and every kid went through a spaz phase without needing a shrink and a bottle of pills. Don’t even start with all the food allergies that will “kill” a kid if he even reads the name of some nut. SMH.

  30. right, becuase there’s no place in football for bullies–these are a bunch of sensitive young men we’re talking about. the anti-bullying organization is bullying the Bills.

  31. I find it fascinating that Incognito has so much support considering he has a documented history of anti-social/deviant behavior going back to his college days when he was essentially kicked out of both Nebraska and Oregon.

    He’s garbage.

  32. Incognito will be on his best behaviour if he is not well there is no hope for him unless he seeks professional help. He went way to far but I do not totally put it all on him, Martin could have handled it better but I can understand how situations get out of control etc. What will be interesting to see if he can still play and knuckle down when things don’t go his way.

  33. Even though I think Incognito is a big dumb meathead, I don’t mind him getting another shot. People have done worse things and have been allowed back in. Donte Stalloworth killed someone and he got to come back. Michael Vick got another chance with what he did. What the guy did was wrong and probably taking it a little too far, but he didn’t kill anyone. That being said hopefully there is someone to straighten him out if he gets out of hand or they cut him if he starts acting like the tool he has been in the past.

  34. I wonder how many of these SAME people cried “Mike Vick deserves a second chance blah blah”.

    Incogito made a mistake and he PAID for it dearly. He absolutely deserves another shot.

    Bills fans, think about it this way. Western NYers are left-wing sycophants, therefore they LOVE to tax the hell out of people (highest tax rate in the U.S.). You will be able to tax Incognito to death, so you should be HAPPY that he signed with Buffalo.

  35. What’s the difference between and “activist” and a bully? Both want to have things their way, right?

  36. incognito is a scumbag, but lets not forget jonathan martin was complaisant in all this, fins paired the 2 up as a mentor/mentee thing and teammates said they appeared to be BFFs on the outside

    my problem with the whole anti-bullying campaigns and national dialogues is we are placing too much attention on having 3rd parties stopping it by intervening and there isn’t much talk about how the only way to stop a bully is to stand up for yourself and martin did not do that (i’m not blaming him), he appeased him and lead him to believe that that behavior was ok with him and that should have been the learning opportunity that got lost in all this a yr and a half ago. i’ve been on bro-y teams and in a frat, that stuff happens, its inexcusable, but it goes on unless you stand up for yourself, and not act like a victim and be passive aggressive

  37. I miss the days when bullying was something parents and teachers spoke about. Anti-bullying has somehow become an industry. We get the message and it’s a good one, but I just don’t need to be reminded of it at every turn. Can we move onto a cause that deserves the attention that all these stupid anti-bullying PSAs are getting? I remember when the “in” causes were feeding starving children in Africa or creating AIDS awareness. Somehow we went from those great causes to the seemingly endless barrage of anti-bullying spots. Make it stop.

  38. The P. T. Barnum, I mean Rex Ryan circus has arrived in Buffalo. Now if only they can get Joseph Randle and trade up in the draft for Jameis “crab legs” Winston…

    Get your tickets now people!

  39. Buyer beware (yes Rex, that includes you). When you get Richie, you get a player with a long history of causing problems on and off the field, wherever he plays. Jonathan Martin got the publicity re the bullying saga but Richie had a string of issues picking on teammates going back to college, many years before. There was a reason Nebraska Cornhuskers and St Louis Rams suddenly dumped him. He probably has mental health problems. It is not normal behavior to take a baseball bat to your Ferrari. The bullygate texts also indicated that he had a substance abuse problem.

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