Bills General Manager Brandon Beane said Tuesday that a Jacksonville player’s accusation that Buffalo offensive lineman Richie Incognito made a racial slur during a postseason game stemmed from “a misunderstanding.” The Jaguars’ Yannick Ngakoue had stood by his assertion Monday, although he declined to specify what he heard Incognito say.
Ngakoue made his accusation shortly after the Jaguars defeated the Bills on Sunday to advance in the AFC playoffs. The defensive lineman said on Twitter that Incognito would “have to come harder than some weak racist slurs,” adding, “I’m proud of my African heritage, as are 70% of the other Black players in this league.”
“There was definitely an exchange,” Beane said Tuesday (via ESPN). “I think there’s a misunderstanding of what was said.”
“Anytime you have an accusation like that, you take it very seriously,” the general manager told reporters (via the Buffalo News). “We have spoken to Richie and understand his side of the story. I know Richie is trying to reach out to the other young man that was involved.
“From what I understand, it was a little bit of on the field stuff back and forth. I know there’s one accusation. We’re looking into it. I’ve spoken with the league. We’re going to follow protocol. That’s really where it’s at.”
Ngakoue said Monday that he could not recall if Incognito, who has been accused of racist behavior in the past, used the n-word during the game. “He knows what he said,” Ngakoue said (via ESPN). “I don’t gotta repeat it.”
A Maryland native who played in college for the Terrapins and whose parents hail from Cameroon and the West Indies, Ngakoue indicated that Incognito had insulted his heritage. “I’ve been playing this game since I was a little kid. You hear all types of stuff,” he said. “Stuff’s not going to bother you, but somebody says something about your ethnicity, that’s really kind of taking it a little bit too far.
“I’m all with trash talk. It’s part of the game, but you can’t say certain things.”
One of Incognito’s fellow offensive linemen for the Bills, Dion Dawkins, came to his teammate’s defense on Twitter on Sunday, and he reiterated his support on Monday. “I played next to Richie the entire game, and from what I heard, Richie did not say one thing out of line,” said Dawkins, who is African American (via the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle). “And if he did, I would have been the first person to say so to Richie.
“I would have been one of the first people to basically check him on it because there’s race — there’s a lot of things going on in this country. There’s boundaries. If he did overstep I would have said something. But as far as I knew, he did his thing.”
“It was chippy out there, but I didn’t hear anything,” Bills center Eric Wood added. “I know Dion tweeted that he didn’t hear anything. Richie has done a lot the last few years to restore his image and I hope it’s not all thrown away based on speculation, but I didn’t hear it, so I can’t really speak on it.”
Jacksonville defensive end Calais Campbell said Monday that Bills players were “really trying to get us to lose our cool and … get penalties.” He suggested that Buffalo players may have been “coached to get us to lose our cool, so we can get a 15-yard penalty.”
When asked about Campbell’s comments, Bills Coach Sean McDermott said Tuesday, “They won the game. The whole situation to me is very unfortunate, and I’ll just leave it at that.”
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