Suspended Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito admits that he called teammate Jonathan Martin the N-word on a voicemail, but Incognito says the two of them frequently engaged in ribald humor and no one should paint Incognito as a racist.
"I'm not a racist and to judge me by that one word is wrong," Incognito told Jay Glazer on FOX.
Still, Incognito acknowledged that he shouldn't have used the N-word, even as he also said it's a word that he frequently hears Martin and other teammates use.
"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 voicemail," Incognito said. "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 voicemail, but there's a lot of colorful words thrown around in the locker room that we don't use in everyday life."
Incognito said he and Martin communicated in a way that many people wouldn't understand -- including Martin texting Incognito and jokingly threatening to "murder your whole f-king family." But Incognito knows how people view him right now.
"It sounds like I'm a racist pig. 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," Incognito said. "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."
Incognito noted that many of his teammates, white and black, have said they support him.
"If I was a racist and I was bullying Jon Martin, when the press went in there and asked questions, that locker room would have said, 'Listen, we saw this, we saw that.' I'm proud of my guys for having my back and telling the truth," Incognito said.
Incognito said he'd give Martin a hug if they saw each other today, but he also said he wants Martin to explain to him why he didn't tell him directly that there was a problem between them.
"I think I'd give him a big hug right now because we've been through so much, and I'd just be like, 'Dude, what's going on? Why didn't you come to me?' If he were to say 'Listen, you took it way too far, you hurt me' I would just apologize," Incognito said. "I never meant it that way."
Incognito may not have meant it that way, but Martin apparently took it that way.