The Next and Most Important Chapter For Richie Incognito

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    Updated: March 3, 2014
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    Soooo…Richie Incognito was checked into an inpatient mental treatment facility last week. There are many ways I can take this, and a lot of different places I can go with this.

    Incognito has shown himself over the years to be, quite frankly, an idiot. Most people would have long written him off as just another jackass with money and an attitude problem.

    But I’ve come to notice a disturbing and familiar pattern that leads me to another realization. Richie Incognito is a sick person who really needs help clinically. 

    His issues publicly begin to surface when he was in college at the University of Nebraska.

    Because he was a first-team freshman All-American, I get the sense that a lot of his problems were initially chalked up to him being a tough football player. Remember linemen are supposed to be tough and angry.

    His real issues were either not realized or ignored because of his ability to play football. In whichever case the proverbial fuse was lit. Far too often the toughness began to spill over.

    Spitting on people during games and constant fighting on and off the field began to raise red flags.

    The school had him checked into an institution in 2003 for anger management treatment. A temporary fix to a much bigger problem. The next year he got into a fight on campus and was charged with assault.

    No one did any real checking, and the fight with chalked up to him being a knucklehead. He was still a premier football player, so everything was done necessary to get him back ON THE FIELD as soon as possible.

    Once football people at the university realized there was a much bigger problem, and that he would never be able to coexist with people on the football field long-term, Incognito was dismissed from the University of Nebraska football. 

    He looked around for colleges that would accept them. Most flatly refused to deal with such an issue.

    The University of Oregon agreed to extend Incognito a scholarship on the condition that he enter an anger management program. Apparently that didn’t work out either. He was kicked off the team before he ever played a game.

    So now he was angry and confused and had no place to go. Tick Tick Tick.

    He was still good enough however to be drafted into the NFL in 2005.

    After landing with the St. Louis Rams, Incognito was involved in numerous incidents, which on the surface would lead one to believe that this is just someone who doesn’t get it and never will.

    In 2009 the Rams had enough of Incognito’s problems and decided it was time to cut ties.

    By this point Incognito was labeled as a disruption and a troublemaker. But many in the public trivialized his true problems. Some in local St. Louis media describe him as being a few fries short of a happy meal.

    They said he was selfish, immature, and incapable of thinking about anyone other than himself. Many agreed what Incognito needed was help to get himself sorted out. But no one knew how to help him.

    So since the Rams are in the business of playing football and winning games, and not in the business of helping fix what is wrong with Incognito, Incognito and his problems were placed in someone else’s lap. And you probably couldn’t blame them.

    Hello Buffalo Bills. Tick Tick Tick…. 

    Of course he didn’t pan out in Buffalo. They were easily the worst team in the league at the time on and off the field. No structure equals no discipline. The entire situation was basically a recipe for disaster.

    He only played 3 games for Buffalo in 2009, but Incognito wasn’t even wanted there. It was after that sobering reality, that Incognito began to take his therapy seriously. But apparently that wasn’t enough. Tick Tick Tick. 

    When Incognito made the Pro Bowl after the 2012 season, many started to wonder if his transgressions were behind him.

    There were whispers about this new Richie Incognito that was no longer the immature troublemaker of the past.

    Problem is that during this time, and in fact the entire time since his college days, Richie incognito was in and out- mostly out- of mental facilities and in care of doctors. You can’t get proper treatment that way.

    Just doesn’t work like that. Trust me when I tell you, I know.

    So when the Jonathan Martin fiasco came to light, and the dysfunctional nature of the relationship between the two of them was being revealed, most people had no clue of what to think. But if you’ve been down this road, you get it.

    Both of these men need help. Intense mental evaluation and treatment.

    An inpatient facility is ideal if it’s one where you can’t check yourself out.

    Football, for Incognito, seems to be little more than just an enabler for his outbursts.

    He needs long-term help to properly diagnose (anger issues are only a small part of the problem) his symptoms, and then treat them accordingly.

    If he is allowed to go on this way and do what he chooses in regards to getting himself mentally healthy, I promise you, something tragic is going happen. It may be something tragic to other people, but most certainly something tragic to himself.

    We as a society have a disgusting habit of treating people with mental health issues like second class citizens.

    Like cattle to be rustled up, and packed neatly- if they can afford it- into a corner.

    For his sake, Richie Incognito needs to finally be looked at as a man with a serious mental illness who happens to play football, as opposed to a football player who is here to get treatment for a little anger issue…

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