Bullygate Ends With Bills Signing Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito is officially out of timeouts -- and so ends one of the most ridiculous suspensions in National Football League history. This weekend, the Buffalo Bills decided to take a chance on Incognito, signing him to a one-year, $2.25 million nonguaranteed deal.
The signing of Incognito fits right in with new Bills coach Rex Ryan's desire to field a more smash-mouth, physical team in Buffalo. Asked about his plans, Ryan said, "We're going to build a bully" -- and it appears he wasn't joking. If there were ever a coach who could best accept the good and bad that comes with Incognito, it's Rex Ryan.
See also: Richie Incognito's Year of the Bully
The deal in Buffalo ends what eventually amounted to a 24-game suspension for the former Pro Bowl and Miami Dolphins guard due to his involvement in "Bullygate." The eventual findings that came from the 2013 NFL-led investigation into the Dolphins alleged toxic locker-room atmosphere were not a good look for Incognito, but nobody at the time could have expected he would not play football again until 2015.
The results of the investigation were clear: Richie Incognito was guilty of being at best an asshole and at worst an abusive, borderline-bipolar bully incapable of controlling himself. The NFL Bullygate findings did not exactly paint a favorable picture of him, and the Dolphins had no choice but to let him go.
Incognito's actions were unacceptable to most yet hardly unexpected by many -- especially those familiar with his personality and the routine happenings in a closed-door-locker-room setting.
Jonathan Martin, one of his main victims, didn't deserve the things that happened to him. That is not up for debate. Nobody deserves that sort of mental abuse, and everyone deserves to feel comfortable at work. Incognito was wrong and deserved to be fired for his actions -- but the over-the-top punishment that has included an apparent yearlong black-balling that followed his midseason firing in no way fit the crime. It's about time Incognito got to move on, just as everyone else involved at the time has.
Incognito now has the opportunity to continue his career and move on with his life -- an opportunity for redemption we all would hope for if faced with the same circumstances. Buffalo isn't exactly being charitable in its signing of Incognito. Prior to his suspension, Incognito was rated the eighth-best guard in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. That success was largely due to his performances as a run blocker, not so much as a pass blocker. Rex Ryan's recipe for success with the Jets included being strong offensively in the run game and stout on defense. So this marriage makes a lot of sense.
Considering the epic public-relations hit the NFL took for flubbing multiple decisions and events during the 2014 season, the Incognito-Martin spat seems minor in comparison.
The Dolphins, NFL, Martin, and everyone else involved in Bullygate have moved on since the scandal, so it's good to see Incognito getting a chance to do the same himself.
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