Shannon Sharpe used to be known as an unbelievably talented, record setting Denver Broncos tight end. Now, he is one of the analysts on CBS Sports’ NFL broadcasts.
On Sunday, he used his nationally televised platform to weigh in on a topic that has ballooned into a national firestorm: Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito’s reported hazing of teammate Jonathan Martin.
Namely, Incognito reportedly being “allowed” to use the N-word by his black teammates. The way Sharpe sees things, that is where all the negativity had to have started, and it is something that should have never been allowed in the first place.
“If you allow Richie Incognito to walk around and use a racial epithet, that all black Americans know the stigma and hate and vitriol that comes with that word — if you allow him to do that, you’re encouraging him to do that.”
Incognito was reportedly considered an “honorary black man” – something Sharpe pointedly declares does not exist.
“Some black players said 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. Why we got here.”
Finally, he talks about assimilation – cultural identity lost amid changing times. Black culture is not the only one in which the older generation sees the younger losing touch with past struggles, but Sharpe is understandably disappointed nonetheless.
“I’m 45, I grew up in rural south Georgia. Ask your parents, ask your grandparents. The mountain that they climbed so a black person in America can have respect, can have dignity. And you allow this, in an open locker room to take place, is unacceptable. I’m so disappointed. I hope that someone was misquoted. I hope I’m wrong and they didn’t allow Incognito to say this racially charged word in a locker room and go unchecked. I’m embarrassed.”