WATCH: Shannon Sharpe’s Emotional Take On Racial Slurs In Locker Room
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — His voice rising, Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe gave an impassioned take on the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying controversy Sunday, specifically in regard to the apparent acceptance of racial slurs in the Miami Dolphins locker room.
There have reports of threatening and racially charged voicemails and text messages from Incognito to Martin, who left the team late last month. In one message transcribed by ESPN, Incognito, who is white, called the biracial Martin a “half n—–.” TMZ also posted a video of Incognito throwing around the slur during a rant at a Florida pool hall.
Here are Sharpe’s comments from CBS’ “The NFL Today”:
“I want to talk about a culture that was fostered in that locker room and was allowed to flourish.
“The Miami Dolphins locker room probably consists of 75, 80 percent blacks. If you allow Richie Incognito to walk around in an open locker room and use a racial epithet that most black Americans — all black Americans — know the (stigma) and the hate and the vitriol that comes with that word, if you allow him to do that, you’re encouraging him to do that. …
“I read, and I don’t know, it’s alleged, that some black players said that Richie Incognito was an honorary black. There’s no such thing. This tells me everything I need to know about the Miami Dolphins locker room — how we got here and why we got here.
“I’m 45. I grew up in rural south Georgia. Maybe it’s a disconnect with me. Maybe it’s me. Just ask your parents. Ask your grandparents. The mountain that they climbed so a black person in America could have respect, could have dignity, and you allow this in an open locker room to take place — it’s unacceptable.
“I place this — I’m so disappointed. I just hope that someone was misquoted. I hope I’m wrong and they didn’t allow Richie Incognito to say this racially-charged word in an open locker room and go unchecked. That’s unacceptable.
“I’m embarrassed for — because if he said that to Martin, Jonathan Martin, he didn’t only say it to him. He’s talking to you too. Because if you’re black, you know what that word means.”
Incognito gave his side of the story during Fox’s pregame show Sunday.
“This isn’t an issue about bullying,” Incognito told Jay Glazer. “This is an issue of my and Jon’s relationship. You can ask anyone in the Miami Dolphins’ locker room who had Jon Martin’s back the absolute most, and they’ll undoubtedly tell you me.
“All this stuff coming out, it speaks to the culture of our locker room, it speaks to culture of our closeness, it speaks to the culture of our brotherhood.”
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