I am not surprised by this and it happens more often than you think. There are certain stereotypes about black men and if you don’t fit into those stereotypes your are deemed by some black people as “Acting White”.
If you are an intelligent black person, some black people will view that as not being “black enough” or wanting to be “white”. In the Dolphins case it may have appeared because of Martin’s background he was soft, sensitive and uppity. When you think about it logically it makes you shake your head, but it is something that happens to black people everyday, so I am not surprised by these comments at all.
“I don’t have a problem with Richie,” Mike Wallace said. “I love Richie.”
“I don’t think Richie is a racist,” cornerback Brent Grimes said.
“Richie Incognito isn’t a racist,” tight end Michael Egnew said.
ESPN analyst and former Dolphins wide receiver Cris Carter today said on air he recently spoke to Mike Pouncey and the center, who is Incognito’s friend, addressed race.
“They don’t feel as if he’s a racist, they don’t feel as if he picked on Jonathan repeatedly and bullied him, but if they could do it all over again there would be situations that they might change but they’re very, very comfortable with Richie,” Carter said.
“They think it’s sad, not only that Jonathan’s not on the football team, but also that Richie is being depicted as a bigot and as a racist.”
How is this possible?
Well, I’ve spoken to multiple people today about this and the explanation from all of them is that in the Dolphins locker room, Richie Incognito was considered a black guy. He was accepted by the black players. He was an honorary black man.
And Jonathan Martin, who is bi-racial, was not. Indeed, Martin was considered less black than Incognito.
“Richie is honarary,” one player who left the Dolphins this offseason told me today. “I don’t expect you to understand because you’re not black. But being a black guy, being a brother is more than just about skin color. It’s about how you carry yourself. How you play. Where you come from. What you’ve experienced. A lot of things.”
There are so many layers to this story, it is very difficult to pinpoint when everything went wrong. From the information that is available, it seems clear the majority of the Dolphins locker room is behind Incognito and not Martin. Maybe, there is big part of the story that is missing, but I wouldn’t rush to judgment.