Suspended Miami guard Richie Incognito, in his first comments since the Dolphins bullying scandal broke, conceded he sent inappropriate text and voice messages to teammate Jonathan Martin -- including ones that used the N-word -- but insisted "I'm not a racist."
"In no way, shape or form is it ever acceptable for me to use that word, even if it’s friend to friend, on a voice mail," Incognito said in an interview with Fox reporter Jay Glazer. "It’s thrown around a lot. It’s a word that I’ve heard Jon use a lot. Not saying it’s right when I did it in the voice mail, but there’s a lot of colorful words thrown around in the locker room that we don’t use in everyday life."
Incognito, who is serving an indefinite suspension while the NFL investigates the situation, turned over his cellphone to Fox so Glazer could peruse the thousands of text messages. In one, the network reported, Martin jokingly threatened to kill Incognito's family.
"It sounds like I’m a racist pig," Incognito said. "It sounds like I’m a meathead. It sounds a lot of things that it’s not. And I wanted to clear the air just by saying I’m a good person. I’m embarrassed by my actions, but what I want people to know is the way Jonathan and the rest of the offensive line, and our teammates, how we communicate, it’s vulgar. ... People don’t know how Jon and I communicate to one another."
Glazer disclosed before the interview that he and Incognito have been friendly for several years and that three years ago he worked with Incognito on a physical training program that included mixed martial arts.
Martin, who is on the Dolphins' non-football injury list, has yet to speak publicly about the situation.