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Lowell Cohn: Richie Incognito now notorious for alleged abuse

  • Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) and tackle Jonathan Martin (71) stand on the field during a practice in July. Two people familiar with the situation say suspended Dolphins guard Incognito sent text messages to teammate Jonathan Martin that were racist and threatening. (Associated Press)

You learn new things — troubling things — about sports all the time.

The past few decades we've learned about performance-enhancing drugs, especially in baseball and track and field, and we've formed opinions and come to terms with the regrettable phenomenon. Now this.

It turns out some Miami Dolphins — one in particular — allegedly harassed offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, harassed him so harshly Martin had some sort of emotional breakdown, or maybe he just said, “Screw it,” and he left the team. According to reports, he is being psychologically counseled.

The big harasser was offensive guard Richie Incognito, who no longer will walk amongst us incognito. He is now well known for what he is. Incognito went from incognito to notorious.

After Martin left the team, the Dolphins suspended Incognito indefinitely. He was the leader of a disgusting team culture. I am not saying this culture is limited to the Dolphins.

I imagine it's not.

I will say one thing about the 49ers. They are the football team I cover the most. I've covered them for decades. To the best of my ability to judge these things, the 49ers don't have a culture of hazing or harassing of younger players — of any players.

I can't swear to this because I am not behind closed doors. This is only my hunch, but it's a hunch based on experience. At practice, the veterans will drop their pads as they walk off the field, and the rookies will pick up the pads and carry them into the locker room. It's like the veterans are saying, “I'm old and need a hand.” And the rookies gladly carry the pads as the veterans carried them in their day. This is a far cry from what happened to poor Jonathan Martin.

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