Martin Fired First, Incognito Fired Back And The Dolphins Are Ducking For Cover

Jonathan Martin isn’t the only 300-pound offensive lineman that feels dissed by the Miami Dolphins. Offensive tackle Richie Incognito has struck back, filing a non-football injury grievance against the Dolphins for his indefinite suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. The media and anti-football suits have portrayed Incognito as a racist, a bully, and everything that is wrong with the culture of football.

The Dolphins suspended Incognito for more than a week ago when it was discovered that he used explicit language and the N-word in voicemails to a guy Incognito calls “J-Mart” and considers his little brother. Incognito’s grievance argues that this violates the collective bargaining agreement.

The NFL is in the midst of a thorough investigation concerning Martin’s allegations that he left the team after crumbling under the pressures of long-term bullying and mistreatment by Incognito and other Dolphins teammates.

Under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, an independent arbitrator hears all non-injury grievances, and according to a statement released by the NFL Players Association on Thursday in USA Today , Incognito has asked that his be heard as soon as possible.

"Richie Incognito filed a non-injury grievance against his employer, the Miami Dolphins, pursuant to his rights under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.," the statement read. "The grievance challenges his suspension for conduct which was alleged to have occurred while he was with the club. In the grievance, Incognito requests that the hearing be held on an expedited basis so that he can immediately resume playing for the team. The NFL Players Association will continue to protect the rights of all players."

After going underground for a stint, this may be the return of Incognito, "The Funky Child." 


Under Article 42 of the agreement, the Dolphins can suspend Incognito for detrimental conduct for four games at most. Miami did not declare the length of his suspension on Nov. 3, when it was imposed.

Article 43, Section 4 of the agreement states that all expedited hearings, as Incognito has requested, must be held within seven days of when the grievance was filed. It also states that the league and the N.F.L. Players Association “will engage in good-faith efforts” to schedule the grievance before the team’s next game. The Dolphins host the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, so the grievance will probably be heard next week, before Miami’s Nov. 24 game against Cam Newton's Panthers.

Martin is scheduled to finally meet Friday with Ted Wells, a top defense lawyer who was appointed by the N.F.L. to investigate the matter. If Incognito is not reinstated through the grievance, the Dolphins must decide by Dec. 2 whether to activate him or '86 him.

I don’t blame Incognito. If he truly stands by that stuff Miami’s been dishing about him being an “honorary brother” and the harshly-toned, politically incorrect way they communicate in that locker room, then he’ s got to take a stand.

He’s not going to just bury his head in the dirt and disgracefully disappear. For every person that might think he’s a jerk or a dirt bag, Incognito obviously has a legion of teammates, family, and fans whom he’s touched in some positive way and don’t want to see him go out like a sucker.

It’s ironic when you consider that Incognito might be back on the field before Martin. A few weeks ago, everybody wrote him off as a mangy mutt in an NFL stable already rife with unscrupulous characters with wrap sheets (as Lil Kim said in the Junior Mafia smash “Get Money”) “deeper than the (coochie) of a chick 6-feet.”

Now, Incognito’s legal team feels like the worst is over, and they came out of it battered but not broken. They feel it’s time to get on the offensive, especially with Martin staying quiet. Martin’s situation is beginning to look more like a money grab than anything else. Not saying he doesn’t have emotional scars, but when is the brother going to say something? Martin went to Stanford (the Ivy League of the West) and isn’t 13 years old. Son can at least give a statement with some depth. I doubt it would make his case implode or disrupt whatever slow assassination Martin has planned for the Dolphins.

In the meantime, Incognito can try to slip back on the field, help Miami win some games and at least re-solidify the fan base on his home turf. As for Martin, he will quickly find out that it’s out of sight, out of mind in the fast-paced world of pro sports. Both players are keeping it true to form. Martin’s mum and Incognito’s picking another fight and trying to strong arm somebody while they are down . He’s on some “play me or release me” gangster-sh*t with a Dolphin’s franchise that is getting creamed from all sides. At least,  it’s against somebody who can fight back.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.