Though the 35-year-old has had success in the NFL, his career has stalled multiple times due to highly publicized scandals. In 2013, Incognito was suspended by the Dolphins after he allegedly harassed Jonathan Martin with racist voicemails and text messages. He was also accused of making racist slurs toward the team's assistant trainer as well as during the 2018 Jaguars-Bills' AFC wildcard playoff game; Incognito hasn't played in the NFL since 2017, when he signed to the latter franchise.
The athlete has also faced a number of off-field controversies, including his 2018 arrest for allegedly threatening to shoot the employees of a funeral home. The staff claimed Incognito had demanded his late father's head be cut off for "research purposes"; he then proceeded to walk through the building while destroying property. The incident, which occurred months after he became a free agent, resulted in his arrest on disorderly conduct charges.
For many fans, Incognito's one-year, prove-it deal highlights the inconsistency and discrimination within the NFL. Why are problematic players like Incognito or Nick Bosa welcomed into the league while Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned?
Writer/activist Shaun King brought up this question in a recent Instagram post.
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock defended the team's deal with Incognito in wake of the backlash.
"Three years in a row he was a Pro Bowler in Buffalo in ’15, ’16, and ’17," Mayock said. "I think whenever he has been focused on activities solely on the field, he has been fine. We’ve done a one-year, prove-it deal with him. Prove it means both on and off the field. There are some expectations he’s got to meet in both areas. He turns 36 this July, and we think he’s going to be a pretty good football player and allow himself to compete for the left guard job. And just as importantly, he’s got to prove it off the field."
You can check out some of the responses to the deal below.