The other day I wrote about the case going on in Miami. Specifically, the bullying case against Jonathan Martin by fellow teammates. Yes, I said teammates, plural!!!
According to Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Miami coaches asked Incognito (the bully) to “to toughen up” Martin after he missed a voluntary workout during the 2013 offseason. Kelly cites “at least two” unnamed sources. Apparently, Incognito was following a request by his coaches but “went too far”.
As I watch all of this unfold, the sickening part is that Jonathan Martin is becoming the “villain” in the affair. In other words, the victim is to blame and can’t be trusted.
What makes this even more sickening is the fact that other players had to be involved in the “toughening up” of Martin. Remember, it wasn’t just Incognito who got up from the lunch table when Martin approached. Other players joined him.
All day I have heard former NFL Players keep harping on the old “what happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room”. As if this was all caused by Martin. They surmise that it had to be Martin who leaked the text messages and the voice message Incognito left. To them that was an abuse of trust. Since Martin filed a formal complaint against the team, wouldn’t it more likely be called “evidence”?
One even went so far as to say that Martin, not Incognito, would never play for the Dolphins again because the “guys won’t trust him”. He even went so far as to say he may never play again because other teams players would have the same feeling.
What about the team breaking trust with Martin? If the locker room is truly a haven of brotherhood, why didn’t anyone step in and stop the abuse? Remember, this has been going on for one and a half years!
Look, I played football when I was younger. No, I never played in college or the NFL, but I do have a sense of what goes on in the locker room. In my experience, this type of behavior was never tolerated.
To attempt to put the blame on Martin is absolutely absurd! Is anyone out there telling me that if your child comes home from school and tells you that someone is bullying them, the first thing you will do is go down to the school and tell the principal to punish your child to “toughen him up”? As they say on ESPN “C’om On Man!”
In order to attempt to justify this bull, the Miami Players are actually rallying around Incognito! They don’t think he is a racist! According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Incognito was more accepted by African-American teammates than Martin was.
“Richie is honorary,” a former Dolphins player who knew both said. “I don’t expect you to understand because you’re not black. But being a black guy, being a brother is more than just about skin color. It’s about how you carry yourself. How you play. Where you come from. What you’ve experienced. A lot of things.” Is he saying that since Martin comes from Ivy League parents and attended Stanford, a University that actually graduates most of their athletes, that his experience doesn’t make him black enough?
This is the same old nonsense that has been part of athletes culture for far too long. Whether they are bullying a teammate or one of the smarter kids at school who doesn’t play ball, it is still bullying! If you don’t like the term bullying in this case, how about the legal term “creating a hostile work environment”?
When a co-worker contributes to or creates a hostile work environment. that co-worker should be the one being questioned. When a player raises the issue of his own workplace safety, he should not have to answer questions about whether he’s tough enough to continue in that job. The notion that a player might be considered “more black” than another, or that it would excuse certain behaviors, is simply a perverted view on race relations and perhaps a symptom of the internal insanity that would allow it to happen.
In the 1970s the NBA lost a lot of fans. The saying was that NBA Teams were nothing but street gangs in shorts. This was all promulgated by constant reports of players being caught using drugs, committing crimes, etc. In the last several years, the same thing has arisen in the NFL. To me, this is simply another sad example of how wrong things are in the NFL. Maybe, NFL teams have become nothing more that street gangs in pads. Considering the money these players make, that is truly sad!