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Incognito: 'My Actions Were Coming From A Place Of Love'

In his first interview since the Miami Dolphins suspended him, Richie Incognito says his words to Jonathan Martin sound harsh, but that's not the way he meant them.

"My actions were coming from a place of love," he told Fox NFL Sunday. "No matter how bad and how vulgar it sounds, that's how we communicate, that's how our friendship was, and those are the facts and that's what I'm accountable for."

Incognito was suspended indefinitely for allegedly sending threatening messages that included racial slurs to Martin, his younger teammate, who left the NFL after he faced harassment that his lawyer said went "beyond locker-room hazing."

The story surfaced a conversation about bullying, race and the culture inside the NFL.

Incognito told Fox that he was "not a racist" and that this has nothing to do with bullying.

"This is an issue of my and Jon's relationship, where I've taken stuff too far and I didn't know it was hurting him," Incognito said.

What's more, Incognito said he texted with Martin after the news broke and that Martin allegedly told him that he didn't blame Incognito and the Dolphins players — instead, he allegedly said, "It's just the culture around football and the locker room got to me a little."

"When I see that voicemail, when I see those words come up across the screen, I'm embarrassed by it," Incognito said. "I'm embarrassed by my actions. But what I want people to know is, the way Jonathan and the rest of the offensive line and how our teammates how we communicate, it's vulgar. It's, it's not right. When the words are put in the context, I understand why a lot of eyebrows get raised, but people don't know how Jon and I communicate to one another."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.