I gave this one the 24 hour rule before writing this. I wanted to let it percolate a little bit before I came to a conclusion on Richie Incognito. When I left the station after Sports Sunday last night I was livid about the Richie Incognito situation. As you well know by now he decided to take another swipe at fans after the game yesterday. Which was bad in its own right but then on top of doing that he proceeded to flat out lie to a group of reporters yesterday after Martin Kilcoyne over at KTVI pressed him on the situation. Richie said quote "I don't know what you saw out there bud".
Well Richie let me clue you in on something. There were from what I can tell 5 different TV camera angles of you doing it and oh yes it was on the front page of the Post-Dispatch!!! So on top of being a jerk for doing that to the fans you were a liar on top of it.
The question becomes what do the Rams do about this? Jim Haslett said he talked with Incognito today and told it was unacceptable and that he has been warned and anything else that happens will be punishable. In my opinion this is not enough.
The Rams are an organziation in turmoil, obviously, but the reason to discipline Incognito severely has nothing to do with trying to score P.R. points. The reason you suspend him or maybe even cut him is because you have to change the culture at Rams Park and getting rid of problem players like Incognito is the beginning of what needs to be done.
The players have totally lost touch with this community. It is of course easier to be in touch when you are winning and when the Rams were winning they had players that were likeable and in the community. What has been consistent though is when you have bad apples on the team you are not winning football games.
When the Rams were bad in the late 90's they had the Lawrence Phillips of the world hanging around. Now the team doesn't have flatout criminals like that but they do have players that don't have the heart or the guts to be accountable to themselves their teammates and their fans. Clearly Incognito does not believe he has accountability to the fans and he certainly does not have accountability to management because he has not been penalized in any manner for his antics.
The St. Louis Cardinals were faced with a similar situation back 25+ years ago when All-Star shortstop Garry Templeton decided to flip the fans off. Whitey Herzog physically yanked him off the field that afternoon and it lead to the trade for Ozzie Smith. What I am getting at it is you win with good people. Rarely in sports do you succeed with a bunch of renegades. Clearly that is what Incognito is and frankly the Rams won't lose anymore games then they are losing with him. 2008 has been the year of change in this country. It should now be the year of change at Rams Park.