The Ted Wells report could be the death knell in Richie Incognito’s career.
The troubled offensive lineman, who was kicked all but one of the teams he has played for since college, had promised in recent days that the truth would “bury” Jonathan Martin. But instead Incognito could be the one whose career is six feet under.
Martin abruptly left the Dolphins in October, later releasing statements and text messages that implicated Richie Incognito in a systematic bullying that created an atmosphere so toxic that he could no longer play. Martin made allegations that Incognito used racially insensitive language and crude statements about Martin’s sister.
On Friday, the report of independent investigator Ted Wells confirmed much of Martin’s side of the story. The report noted that Incognito subjected Martin to “a pattern of harassment” that included racial slurs. Incognito also targeted another offensive lineman and a member of the team’s equipment staff, the report found.
“He feels a great sense of relief,” said Kenneth Zuckerman, Martin’s agent. “Jonathan Martin is a great man, and he’s only shown me that he is very honest since the day I met him. He loves football and is eager to get back on the field, regardless of what team he plays for.”
While Jonathan Martin is vindicated, Richie Incognito may be at the end of his career. He has already been kicked off the St. Louis Rams, and his tenure with the Buffalo Bills lasted only a few games, with the team declining to bring him back for a second season.
With the coming out of Missouri football player Michael Sam, who is projected as a mid-round draft pick, it is imperative that homophobia is not tolerated in the NFL, the report noted.
“With the recent announcement by Michael Sam, a defensive lineman from the University of Missouri who is expected to be selected in the 2014 NFL draft, that he is gay, it is even more urgent that a tolerant atmosphere exist throughout the league,” the report noted. “The frequent use of homophobic insults undermines this goal.”
The Ted Wells report did not speculate on the future of Richie Incognito, but Richie certainly had words for the investigator. On Friday night he tweeted: “You could not define me in 144 years let alone 144 pages Mr Wells. Thank you for your hard work and dedication.”