Four-time Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito was announced as the “first national ambassador” of an anti-bullying organization based in Los Angeles.
Incognito, who was one of the players at the center of the Miami Dolphins’ bullying scandal in 2013, will be honored by Boo2Bullying at an event later this month.
Per its website, Boo2Bullying’s goal is “to eradicate bullying, intolerance and discrimination by educating schools and parents about accepting diversity and giving young people the tools to connect with and positively impact those around them.”
Incognito was in the eye of a bullying scandal involving then-teammate and fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin while with Dolphins.
NFL investigators concluded Incognito and two of his teammates engaged in a “pattern of harassment” against Martin. The Dolphins suspended Incognito, who later sat out the 2014 season before signing with the Buffalo Bills in 2015.
Per ESPN.com, Incognito called bullying a “national crisis” in a release by Boo2Bullying on Friday. The 35-year-old added that he could “personally relate to it from both sides — being bullied and being accused of being a bully.”
“A group of guys actually threw rocks at me,” Incognito said. “My dad told me not to worry and to focus on football. So I grinded, and at this point I was really starting to excel. After a few weeks of not letting it bother me, I actually became friends with the guys that bullied me. They are still my friends today, and anytime I go home now, I make sure we find some time to catch up. It just goes to show what can happen when you actually take the time to get to know someone, instead of treating them a certain way because they are different than you.”
Incognito excelled with the Bills for three seasons before retiring in April by sending a tweet to the NFL Players Association that said he was “done” playing football. He later asked the Bills to release him from the retired list in a bid to play for another team.