Ricky Williams: Richie Incognito is not a racist, maybe Jonathan Martin doesn’t belong in NFL
Ricky Williams, who played with Richie Incognito when the two were with the Miami Dolphins in 2010, provided an interesting take on the Jonathan Martin bullying saga on Tuesday. During an interview with KGMZ-FM in San Francisco, Williams refused to blame Incognito. In fact, he argued that bullying is essentially what NFL players are expected to do on a daily basis.
“How is bullying something that’s even mentioned regarding the NFL?” Williams asked, via Chris Wesseling of Around the League. “Because that’s kind of what we’re taught to do — at least on the field — is to bully the guy across from us so we can win the football game.
“It’s kind of what we’re subjected to on a day-to-day basis that most people will never be able to understand. … And I’m not saying that it’s bad. I’m saying it just really speaks to what it takes to be a professional football player. And to me there’s no room to play the victim or to be bullied or to even have that discussion when it comes to the NFL. If you’re having that discussion, it just means that maybe you don’t belong in the NFL.”
Williams went on to discuss how he decided playing football wasn’t the career for him nine years ago. However, he accused Martin of using Incognito as a “scapegoat” and an excuse for why he chose to leave the team. In other words, Williams believes Martin would have left with or without the disturbing voicemails Incognito allegedly left on his phone.
“I think I can relate and I can speak on this because I was at a point where I was done with the NFL and I needed to take a break,” Williams said. “But unlike Jonathan, I didn’t have to find a scapegoat or someone to blame. … I didn’t have to bring anyone else down when I found out that I just couldn’t handle what I was going through at the time.
“There’s all these text messages and these voice messages. It takes some awareness and some planning and some orchestration to actually save those and record those. … I think they’re both victims. I think the truth is never going to come out. One guy has a paid vacation. And one guy has a vacation that’s not paid right now.”
Williams isn’t the first former or current player to defend Incognito, but he is the first to imply that Martin formulated a plan to excuse himself from the NFL. Williams also insisted Incognito is not a racist, pointing to the fact that he asked Ricky — an African-American — for help several years ago.
“The locker room, we keep coaches out for a reason. It’s our space,” Williams said. “When I look at the issue, it’s not about racism, it’s not about bullying, it’s not about hazing. It’s about a lack of leadership in that locker room. … And this is just one of the ways in which it’s manifested.”
If the Dolphins coaches really asked Incognito to toughen Martin up, it’s about much more than just a lack of leadership.