By all accounts, Richie Incognito has represented himself and the Buffalo Bills well since joining the team in 2015 with a controversial past.
Apparently, the fact he went from banishment to Pro Bowl guard and one of the Bills' top veteran leaders doesn't matter to some people.
Incognito's history, which includes a bullying scandal when he was with the Miami Dolphins, still follows him because it was the main reason he wound up in the top 10 of The Sporting News' recently compiled list of the 20 most hated players currently in the NFL.
"Currently" is the operative word, because that is the reason the author, Mike DeCourcy, cites for leaving one of the game's most polarizing figures, Colin Kaepernick, off the list.
Incognito came in at No. 9 with the following explanation:
"In October 2013, an offensive tackle for the Dolphins, Jonathan Martin, left the team for 'emotional reasons.' Not long after, it was reported this resulted from alleged harassment by some teammates, particularly Incognito. A report compiled by independent investigator Ted Wells produced evidence including texts from Incognito to Martin using sexual threats against Martin’s sister, and text exchanges between Incognito and teammate Mike Pouncey in which both use homophobic slurs.
"Incognito was suspended by the Dolphins for conduct detrimental to the team in November 2013; that was not lifted until three months later. Oh, and one more thing: In 2009, a Sporting News poll of NFL players cited him as the dirtiest player in the league."
Care to guess who tops the most-hated list? Yes, that would be a certain quarterback who has resided in the nightmares of Bills fans for the duration of their team's 17-year playoff drought.
But Tom Brady isn't the only New England Patriot on the list. He has company in two of his favorite pass-catchers: wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is 20th, and tight end and Western New York native Rob Gronkowski, who is No. 12.
Of Gronkowski, DeCourcy writes: "When you’re an all-time great and you’re courting what one might describe as a 'jackass' image — Bleacher Report called it 'meathead,' but that implies a lack of intellect — you’re going to wind up on the wrong side of some who follow the game. It has been profitable for Gronk in terms of endorsement income, and even his critics have to admit the guy has demonstrated a fair sense of humor from time to time. Four years ago, however, James Walker wrote an article for ESPN titled, 'Is it time for Rob Gronkowski to grow up?' We're still waiting."