This whole Richie Incognito saga that is unfolding in the media is a tragic, yet surprisingly common one. The allegations themselves aren’t necessarily the common factor, though.
The veteran offensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins has been suspended from the team as the league and franchise look into allegations of bullying by Incognito. These allegations range anywhere from typical locker room horseplay, to racial voicemails left for fellow lineman Jonathan Martin.
One of the more disturbing trends to this story is that Incognito seems hell bent on ruining his own career. This is evident in a long pattern of bad behavior, the likes of which got him kicked off the team at both Nebraska and Oregon and put him in hot water in both St. Louis and Buffalo once he finally reached the NFL.
Incognito is certainly not alone when it comes to athletes that can’t get out of their own way. The part that makes you shake your head is the fact that they have been blessed with amazing talent, but serious character flaws ruin it all.
Take a look at Allen Iverson. He had a magical decade with the Philadelphia 76ers, but it was downhill after that. It got to a point where Iverson, who was still perfectly capable of playing in the NBA, was begging for a spot with a team, but no one wanted anything to do with him. He complained when he didn’t start and everyone knows he thinks practicing is pointless. He eventually landed overseas in Turkey, but recently announced his official retirement from the sport.
Many people still wonder if freakishly athletic wide receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson had anything left in the tank before letting their salty attitudes ruin their chances of ever landing on an NFL team again. These two receivers — both immensely talented and accomplished in their own right — seemed to spend more time talking and complaining than they did practicing. Owens couldn’t even hack it on an indoor football league because the team got so fed up with his antics.
You can’t talk about epic meltdowns without mentioning boxing great Mike Tyson. Some might say he didn’t successfully ruin his career because he lives on as one of the greatest boxers ever. However, just consider what Tyson could have accomplished had he put forth his best effort in training and stayed out of trouble. His career was placed on hold to serve time in prison for rape, and he never got back on track.
If you want to talk about baseball, you have to point a finger at Manny Ramirez. I mean, after most players get busted for performance enhancing drugs, they stop using them and focus on playing the game. Ramirez was caught two times. His career in Major League Baseball was cut a little short in 2011 while he still had plenty left to offer.
We might never understand it, but some athletes just do not realize how good they have it – at least, until it’s gone.