In My Opinion

Fred Grimm: Maybe Dolphins’ Richie Incognito could find a job in Sweetwater

 

fgrimm@MiamiHerald.com

Sweetwater needs a mayor. Richie Incognito needs a job. In South Florida, we call this serendipity.

Richie, the most offensive of the Miami Dolphins’ offensive linemen, became available for new employment opportunities late Sunday night. He was suspended from the team after his oxymoronic name was linked to obscene and threatening messages to a teammate.

That kind of behavior might disqualify Incognito from a job as, say, grade school guidance counselor, yet would serve him well in our local politics.

What may be even more important to Incognito’s résumé was the way he took time out of his busy training schedule to help rookie players manage their personal finances. The Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley reported that helpful veteran players levied a “rookie tax” on first-year members of the team. Beasley cited a source who said that veterans pressured younger players to finance their extravagant dinners and lavish nightlife escapades. ESPN reported that Incognito harassed one young player (who finally fled the team to escape his abuse) into writing for a $15,000 check to subsidize a players jaunt to Las Vegas. Apparently, young players knew they must pay the rookie tax if they wanted to play alongside team vets.

Guys like Richie could transition right into local politics, where pay-to-play is an art form.

Sweetwater, in particular, could benefit from brawny leadership to get a grip on operations at South Florida’s most troubled city hall (a designation that might be challenged by residents of North Miami, Homestead, Miami Lakes, Doral or Tamarac).

Sweetwater needs a strong-armed mayor to take over for Manny Maroño, suspended from office after he was nabbed in an FBI sting in August. The FBI called it bribery. The ousted mayor, taking a cue from the NFL, might call it hazing.

Vice Mayor Jose Diaz has since taken over, but if there’s one thing that Richie Incognito does really, really well, it’s nudge uncooperative adversaries out of his way. Incognito would certainly be a nice fit for a town entangled in a sleazy no-bid contract with an operation like Southland The Towing Company, once owned by Maroño himself. A series of investigative reports by El Nuevo Herald and WFOR-CBS 4 discovered that, among other questionable practices, Southland sometimes refuses to relinquish towed cars to their rightful owners. A 320-pound, heavily tattooed muscle man, known as the dirtiest player in the NFL, would be the perfect mayor to greet carping motorists who show up at city hall demanding their cars back.

Richie might also consider the post vacated by Mayor Mike Pizzi in Miami Lakes after he was busted on corruption charges. Before his arrest, Pizzi, a blustery fellow himself, was set to take on the mayor of Hialeah in a mixed martial arts bout. Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez was disappointed that the mayor-versus-mayor “mayhem” was canceled. He said, “Hopefully in the future we can do this again with another mayor or somebody else.”

Richie, if nothing else, could put a stop to that particular nonsense. Unless Hernandez is willing to pay the rookie tax.

Read more Fred Grimm stories from the Miami Herald

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