Yesterday, the Oakland Raiders finalized a deal with Richie Incognito. The veteran linemen expects to compete for the starting spot at left guard. With some many questions, arrives few, if any answers. Granted, the Raiders needed help on the offensive line. However, that doesn’t begin to solve the myriad of potential problems. Below, issues that I have about this entire issue.
When evaluating prospects and free agents, the Raiders discussed an emphasis on signing high character player. From expulsions in college to Miami to incidents in the last two years, Incognito doesn’t seem to fit that standard. Remember, many outlets reported the Raiders cut Marquette King over his personality, which is nowhere near the volatility of Incognito. Earlier this spring Mayock discussed their plan.
“I try to tell people, it’s easy to kind of spend money in free agency, or draft players, but the hard part is developing a team. And that’s what we are trying to do. We are trying to do it by strengthening and improving our locker room with character, hard-working guys that love it. And that’s what I’m really proud of. We stuck to it the whole time.”
The mere presence of Incognito flies in the face of the above statement. From punching teammates to bullying others and costing his team with penalties, how does that improve locker room chemistry?
If you read early reaction, people lumped Incognito in with Antonio Brown and Vontaze Burfict. In all fairness to them, that feels misplaced. First, looking back, Brown appeared justified in his issues in Pittsburgh. When Ben Roethlisberger apologized, gave credence to the complaints. Next, Vontaze Burfict didn’t make waves in the Bengals locker room. From all accounts, the team loved and respected him. While his play resides on the dirty side, teammates supported Burfict. Ask Nebraska teammates, former Rams TE Cam Cleeland, or Jonathan Martin.
The Baker Act
Until Incognito, I never knew this law existed. It states, “The Baker Act is a Florida law that allows people with mental illnesses to be held involuntarily for up to 72 hours in a mental health treatment facility if they meet certain criteria. The act can be initiated by judges, law enforcement officials, doctors or mental health professionals.”
Last May, police involuntarily committed Incognito after an incident at a Boca Raton gym. In a year, he made a return the NFL. That seems really soon.
If you scan social media or discuss this with fans, many people are willing to support to move. As a result, people are willing to turn away from the long history of racism, assault, and multiple cases of unbalanced behavior. Some cite Incognito’s mental health issues as a reason to give him his second chance. The Miami Dolphins were his second chance and his torched that opportunity. Granted, the word fan derives from fanatic. Yet, when does common sense take hold. The Raiders signed a 35-year-old guard with mental/impulse control issues to protect their franchise quarterback. Spare me the “ it’s only one year”. When the Raiders want to compete for the Super Bowl, is Richie Incognito someone to depend on?
Like it or not, Richie Incognito’s behavior is a problem. His rampant use of racial slurs and intolerant behavior remains ugly. Yet, some will issue a pass for it. Not here. He is a racist. If you direct the N-word towards a Black person and you aren’t Black, that’s the conclusion. Spare me the “ his Black friends gave him that privilege” stupidity. Incognito is walking into the Raiders locker room, after calling multiple people that demeaning slur. Think about working with someone that you know utters intolerant, hateful comments.
In reality, we all knew the Raiders would eventually sign Richie Incognito. When he visited, the writing on the wall became billboard-sized. However, that does not erase the concern regarding the move. Yet, rational fans can still root for the team while possessing enmity for a particular player. Despite the vocal approval of some members of RaiderNation, an informal poll displays contrary results,
Are you good with the Raiders signing Richie Incognito, despite his past that features racism, assault, dirty play and unbalanced behavior?@FPC_NFL
— Full Press Raiders (@FPC_Raiders) May 28, 2019