Suspended Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito conducted an interview with Fox Sports NFL Insider Jay Glazer which was aired before Sunday’s Week 10 games.
During the interview, Incognito admits to leaving teammate Jonathan Martin a voicemail laced with racial slurs, and even a death threat. Incognito denies being a racist, and also said he considers Martin to be a friend.
Incognito has been accused of bullying Martin, forcing him to hand over as much as $15,000 to pay for a vacation, and also threatening his sister. Over the past week, news also spread of Incognito demanding players hold meetings at a Miami strip club, and a video surfaced of him screaming in a bar with his shirt off and using the n-word.
In his second year out of Stanford, Martin left the Dolphins on Oct. 28 reportedly citing bullying from teammates, with Incognito being the main culprit. His lawyer released a transcript of the voicemail in question, and Incognito’s use of the n-word has started a debate on what is appropriate in an NFL locker room. Incognito said he was ashamed for his use of the racial epithet, and also said it is used frequently in NFL locker rooms by both white and black players.
Incognito has a very checkered past, dating back to his college days with Oregon and Nebraska, and time with the St. Louis Rams, but Miami teammates came out and said they consider him an integral part of the club and an overall good person.
Incognito also said that he texted with Martin the Friday after Miami's 22-20 overtime win over Cincinnati, and that Martin did not blame him but the culture within the Dolphins locker room. Incognito also said that Martin denied releasing any information about the alleged bullying.
Below is the transcript of the full interview:
Incognito: You can ask anybody in the Miami Dolphins locker room, who had Jon Martin’s back the absolute most? And they will undoubtedly tell you, me.
Incognito: Jon never showed signs that football was getting to him, um, the locker room was getting to him.
Glazer: You’re saying you don’t know what led to this, your teammates are saying we don’t know. His side has clearly said we do know. OK, and there’s bullying involved. There was a voice message left. I’m going to read it to you. You did leave this voice message?
Incognito: Yes, I did leave this voice message.
Glazer: And it’s, 'Hey what’s up, you half N word piece of blank. I saw you on Twitter, you been training ten weeks. Want to blank in your blank mouth. I’m going to slap blank mouth. Going to slap your real mother across the face. Laughter. You’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.' You hear that, going back to that now, do you look at that and say, 'I left that for Jonathan Martin?'
Incognito: When I see that voicemail, when I see those words come up across the screen, I’m embarrassed by it. I’m embarrassed by my actions. But what I want people to know is, the way Jonathan and the rest of the offensive line and how our teammates how we communicate, it’s vulgar. It’s, it’s not right. When the words are put in the context, I understand why a lot of eyebrows get raised, but people don’t know how Jon and I communicate to one another.
Glazer: But there’s one thing of saying that, another thing with a white man using the “N” word. How do you tell America, how do you expect anybody in America to believe you’re not a racist.
Incognito: I am not a racist. And to judge me by that one word is wrong. In no way shape or form is it ever acceptable for me to use that word even if it’s friend to friend on a voicemail. I regret that.
Glazer: How much in today’s locker room is it thrown around by African Americans and white players?
Incognito: It’s thrown around a lot. It’s a word that I’ve heard Jon use a lot. Not saying it’s right for when I did it in the voicemail, but there’s a lot of colorful words thrown around the locker room that we don’t use in everyday life. The fact of the matter remains, though, that that voicemail was left as a private voicemail for my friend, and it was a joke.
Glazer: Did Jonathan Martin overreact? Or Jonathan was hurting that much?
Incognito: I can’t sit here and tell you who overreacted, who did what; I can just sit here and be accountable for my actions. And my actions were coming from a place of love. No matter how bad and how vulgar it sounds, that’s how we communicate, that’s how our friendship was, and those are the facts and that’s what I’m accountable for.
Glazer: There’s so many subplots in this. How much has come out, where you looked at it and said … 'That’s not even close'?
Incognito: I think the whole thing, I’ve been sitting here saying, 'That’s not even close.' It sounds terrible. It sounds, when it’s on the screen, it sounds like I’m a racist pig, it sounds like I’m a meathead. It sounds a lot of things that it’s not. And I want to clear the air just by saying I’m a good person.
Glazer: You obviously have had a very checkered history. From way back in college all the way up to recently with last year with the incident at the golf course. You’re sitting up here and saying, 'Hey, I’m a good guy.' It’s difficult for us, as America, to grasp that when all they see are the episodes.
Incognito: Right, no question. And if you go by just all the knucklehead stuff I’ve pulled in the past, done in my past, you’re sitting in your home and you’re thinking this guy is a loose cannon, this guy is a terrible person, this guy is a racist. When that couldn’t be farther from the truth. If I was a racist and I was bullying Jon Martin, when the press went in there and asked them questions, that locker room would have said listen we saw this we saw that. I’m proud of my guys for having my back and telling the truth. But the fact of the matter is when Jon left the team on Monday, we played a game on Thursday. I spoke with Jon on Friday.
Glazer: You spoke with him?
Incognito: I texted with him, I text messaged, I spoke with him through text message. And he texted me and said I don’t blame you guys I blame some stuff in the locker room, I blame the culture. I blame what was going on around me. And when all this stuff got going and swirling and bullying got attached to it and my name got attached to it. I just texted him as a friend and was like what’s up with this man. He said its not coming from me, I haven’t said anything to anybody. And I’m like ok.
Glazer: Would these be texts you would be willing to share?
Incognito: No question. Ill give you, after this interview I’ll give you my phone. And we’ll walk through all these texts, and I will show you the framework of a friendship.
Glazer: If Jonathan Martin was sitting right here next to you, what would you say to him?
Incognito: I think, honestly, I think I’d give him a big hug right now because we’ve been through so much and I’d be like, dude what’s going on? Why didn’t you come to me? If he were to say listen, you took it way to far, you hurt me. You know I would just apologize and explain to him exactly what I just explained to you, and I’d apologize to his family, they took it as malicious. I never meant it that way.