If a raccoon crawled out of the woods and vomited onto a Confederate flag and that pile of Confederacy raccoon vomit was next to newly signed NFL guard Richie Incognito, the untrained eye would have a hard time determining which one plays in the NFL.
For those that might not remember or for those who get tired of reading how being racist really does help you level up in Trump’s America, you may not know that Richie Incognito doesn’t just have a history of racist and violent behavior, but during his time with the Miami Dolphins in 2013, he was accused of bullying teammate Jonathan Martin with homophobic and racial slurs. He openly called Martin, who is black, a “half-nigger.” In the end, it was chalked up to being locker room talk.
It was the type of toxic masculinity fueled by racist hate and hazing that the NFL had the opportunity to turn into a teaching moment; instead, Incognito was picked up by the Buffalo Bills in 2015 and a few years later he picked up right where he left off.
During a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue claimed that Incognito, who at this point had been elected to two Pro Bowls, used racist slurs against him during the game.
In 2017, Incognito retired from football and was really ready to fuck some shit up. In May 2018, he was placed on “involuntary psychiatric hold” after he reportedly threw weights and a tennis balls at folks inside a South Florida gym. When police questioned him, he allegedly told officers that the government was spying on him.
Just a few months after that arrest, Incognito was again in trouble for allegedly threatening to shoot up a funeral home. Police later found that Incognito was “carrying two Glocks, three rifles and a silencer for a handgun.”
None of this stopped the Oakland Raiders from pulling Incognito out of retirement, because he’s a racist white man and there is always room on an NFL team for a racist white man, especially if he can block.
“Whenever he’s been focused on activities solely on the field, he’s been fine, and we’ve done a one-year prove-it deal with him,” Raiders general manager Mike Mayock told ESPN.
“And prove it means both on and off the field. There’s some expectations he’s got to meet in both areas. He turns 36 in July. We think he’s going to be a good football player and allow himself to compete for the left guard job. And just as important, he’s got to prove it off the field.
“We’re going to provide the infrastructure for him. At the end of the day, it’s a two-way street—we’ve got to help him help himself.”
You know who else may be willing to sign a one-year “prove it” deal? I’ll give you hint: His name rhymes with Bolin Baepernick. Seriously, the NFL has tilted its hand and it’s racist AF. What the NFL has shown since the obvious whiteballing of Kaepernick is that they don’t care about anything other than upsetting their white male owners and their white male base.
They don’t care if black people stop watching, they don’t care if they protest games, they don’t care if Kaepernick never plays another down because here is what they know: The black men who make up some 70 percent of the league aren’t going to leave their well-paid slave jobs in protest, and the slaves that make up a good portion of the viewing public won’t stop watching.
No matter who they sign.
At this point, the NFL could sign a 6-foot 4-inch, 365-pound linebacker who is a member of the Ku Klux Klan who has elected to wear his KKK hood instead of a helmet and the most a black NFL fan would ask is, “But can he cover the running back coming out of the backfield?”
There was no black uproar around Trump-loving, defensive end Nick Bosa, except from The Root’s senior writer Michael Harriot who noted that Bosa was rooting against everything black.
So now that MAGA-Nick (I know you were waiting for me to call him Colin Crackkker-Nick. I refuse to do that) has swept his past under the rug, everything should be fine. I’m sure the owners won’t tell him to “toe the line,” as Dallas Cowboys plantation master Jerry Jones told his players. He probably won’t be tested 2,038,439 in 16 weeks like Eric Reid. I’m sure Bosa won’t be called an “inmate,” like Houston Texans owner Bob McNair called black protesters.
Because Nick Bosa is white.
So this is where we are, and in truth, it is tiring to see the level to which the NFL will explain hiring white men with controversial pasts and the levels that they will go to not to hire a black man who protested the killing of black people and the lack of support that black folks have for the movement. So the NFL just NFL’d again and went to extraordinary lengths to bring one of the worst players with a controversial past back to the game because one thing we’ve learned since Donald Trump took office is that there is always a second chance for a white man, no matter what he’s done.