NFL: Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito talks about Jonathan Martin bullying scandal
Richie Incognito denied being a racist in his first interview since his suspension for alleged bullying of a team-mate.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH
Last Updated: 12/11/13 12:11pm
The Miami Dolphins guard is suspended indefinitely as the NFL investigate allegations of misconduct by Incognito in the form of bullying and threatening behaviour towards team-mate Jonathan Martin.
Players from the Dolphins have jumped to the defence of Incognito after he was suspended.
Martin left the Dolphins as matters got too much for him, and his people have since released details of a threatening voice mail and text messages which both contained racial slurs in them.
Incognito denied being a racist, and insisted that he and Martin were, and still are, friends and that they just used unruly language between each other.
"I'm not a racist. To judge me by that one word, is wrong," Incognito says in his interview with Fox reporter Jay Glazer.
Incognito showed text messages he received from Martin after he had left the team, in which he backed up Incognito's claims that the language used is common place in the locker room - and it is that locker room culture which forced Martin out.
"All of this stuff coming out, just, it speaks to the culture of our locker room, it speaks to the culture of our closeness, it speaks to the culture of our brotherhood," Incognito added.
"And the racism, the bad words, um, you know, that's what I regret most, but that's a product of the environment, that's something that we use all the time.
"This is an issue of my and John's relationship. You can ask anybody in the Miami Dolphins locker room, 'Who had John Martin's back the absolute most?' And they will undoubtedly tell you me."
Incognito refused to answer whether team officials had asked him to toughen up his team-mate during the off-season, and that could be a big question to answer when Martin meets with an independent investigator next week.
A big part of the debate surrounds whether Incognito is just a rough personality or whether there is a serious problem with the culture within NFL locker rooms, as that continues to come under the microscope.