Defending Richie Incognito

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This might come a few hours too late in light of the statement by Jonathan Martin’s attorney, David Cornwell, but in the event that Martin sues Incognito, there are a couple of ways to approach a defense. The first way to deflect the accusations by Martin is to go after Martin himself. We’ve already seen a little bit of this from the Dolphins players as well as head coach, Joe Philbin. There have been rumors of Martin having a mental illness, being too soft for football, and rumors questioning his sexual orientation.

The other, more reliable way to for Incognito to defend himself, is to say he was only doing what the coaching staff instructed him to. My previous post details why this would be effective, but the general idea is to say Incognito was only doing what he was told. Based on recent reports, the instructions to toughen Martin up didn’t just come from the Dolphins coaching staff, but reached as high as General Manager Jeff Ireland (Yes, the same Jeff Ireland that asked Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute). Ireland reportedly told Martin’s agent that Martin should “punch” Incognito to resolve the issue.

As expected, all sides have lawyered-up: Martin has hired David Cornwell and the NFL has hired Ted Wells, a prominent New York attorney, as an investigator. The Dolphins, by suspending Incognito and denying knowledge of the extent of Incognito’s actions, are distancing themselves from the situation to avoid liability. It’s not clear yet whether Incognito has hired an attorney but it would be a good idea for him. It’s only a matter of time until the first shot is fired and the legal battles begin.

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About Rajiv Radia

Rajiv is a third year law student at American University - Washington College of Law in Washington DC and a long time sports fanatic.
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3 Responses to Defending Richie Incognito

  1. Jim Hamel says:

    I found your site as a link on a comment on Sports Illustrated. Well written articles (the couple I’ve looked at). You seem to be the only other person out there who recognized that Martin has a potential claim for a hostile work environment.

  2. Rajiv Radia says:

    Thanks for the compliments Jim. It will definitely be interesting to see which way this goes. I think Incognito has a case against the Dolphins for suspending him as well. If he was doing as instructed and they suspended him, he can file a grievance. Although in my opinion he wasn’t right for what he did, he is still losing a chunk of money during his suspension.

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