About the Show

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

We are live on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri, with the latest news and analysis.

We are live on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri, with the latest news and analysis.

November 4th, 2013
06:01 PM ET

Ricky Williams on bullying allegations: The NFL isn't for everyone

(CNN) – The Miami Dolphins have suspended offensive lineman Richie Incognito after allegations of misconduct lodged by offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, who left the NFL team last week.

Incognito was suspended "for conduct detrimental to the team."

"I played football in the NFL for 11 years and I have never really heard anything quite like this occurring when I was in the NFL," former Dolphins running back Ricky Williams said in an interview with "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Incognito "had a history behind him of getting in trouble on the field and off the field," said Williams, who describes his former teammate as a "fiery" and "physical guy."

"But as far as seeing him do anything that was problematic or troublesome, in the year I spent with him I never saw it," said Williams.

During his rookie year playing for the New Orleans Saints in 1999, Williams said there had been a hazing incident the previous year, and then-Coach Mike Ditka told the players "there will be no hazing in this camp," threatening to kick anyone involved with hazing off the team.

"That set the tone for me right away," said Williams.

While Williams says he did not see much hazing during his career, he noted there are traditions new players are expected to follow. For example, high draft picks are expected to take their position group out to dinner.

"That's more of a rite of passage. I wouldn't consider that hazing," said Williams.

ESPN reported over the weekend that Incognito pressured Martin into paying $15,000 for a trip to Las Vegas that Martin wasn't even on.

"The NFL isn't for everyone" said Williams, adding that the NFL didn't meet his ideas and expectations when he first joined. He said the transition for Martin was likely tough.

"I see this kid, very intelligent kid, you know, his parents are attorneys, he went to Stanford and had these expectations about what the NFL would be, and if you look at his career, he really hasn't had as much success as he wanted to have, and things have been tough. And I'm sure things got out of hand with him and Richie, and now we are where we are," said Williams.

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said Monday he will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure a "safe atmosphere" for his players.

The team is likely in "save face mode," said Williams, adding the event is a "black eye" for the team, Incognito, and the NFL.

But what should the NFL and these coaches really be doing about the bullying allegations?

"The NFL, it's really like a closed fraternity," said Williams. "It's really not made for everyone. There are certain people that can play in the NFL, and certain people that can't."

Once players sign their contracts, they are expected to follow a lot of rules, written and unwritten, said the former running back.

Staying true to his fraternity, Williams said the issue "should be handled internally."

"I don't think the media, I don't think fans, I don't think anyone outside is really in a position to really fully understand what occurs inside of a locker room and inside of a football team," said Williams.

Players who join the NFL are not allowed to give excuses, "wimp out," or get away from doing their job, says Williams.

"You can talk about bullying, but for me this whole idea of bullying, it makes someone a victim," said Williams. "What I found with victims, victims are just usually victimizing other people. So you can't really have a victim mentality and be successful in the NFL."

Posted by ,
Filed under: Sports Lead
soundoff (No Responses)

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 113 other followers