Richie Incognito, the embattled Miami Dolphins offensive lineman whose racially offensive text messages to teammate Jonathan Martin created a firestorm around bullying in the NFL, said in his first in-depth interview in a week that he is not a racist, and that Martin laced his cellphone with harsh text messages, too.
“When words are put in a context, I understand why a lot of eyebrows get raised,” Incognito told Fox Sports during the interview, which aired Sunday. “But people don’t know how Jon and I communicate to one another. For instance, a week before this went down, Jonathan Martin texted me on my phone, ‘I will murder your whole f—— family.’
“Now, do I think Jonathan Martin was going to murder my family? Not one bit. He texted me that. I didn’t think he was going to kill my family. I knew that was coming from a brother. I knew it was coming from a friend. I knew it was coming from a teammate.”
Incognito, known around the NFL for overly aggressive play, said he support Martin more than anyone. Martin left the team last week reportedly because he distressed over Incognito’s harassment. Martin, 24, reportedly checked into a south Florida hotel before traveling to California to be with his parents.
“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 [it was me],” Incognito said. “Jon never showed signs that football was getting to him [or] the locker room was getting to him.”
Incognito confirmed that he did leave the controversial voice mail message to Martin last April that included a racial slur and a threat to kill Martin.
Despite the scathing language, Incognito said his actions “came from a place of love” and that vulgar communication was normal among Dolphins players.
“I’m not a racist, and to judge me by that one word is wrong,” Incognito said. “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 voice mail.”
In the transcript of the April voice mail message that started this controversy, Incognito referred to Martin as a “half n—– piece of s—,” and added, “F— you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”