That's the only way to describe what has happened to Miami Dolphin offensive lineman Jonathan Martin. Everyone is familiar with rookie hazing, making the newcomers pay for a dinner or bring the laundry to the room from the practice facility. That sort of joking is accepted for the most part around the league as long as the actions do not cross the line into bullying or over the top actions.
Richie Incognito, offensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins has been accused of doing just that. Voicemails have been delivered to the NFL and the NFLPA that are allegedly the voice of Incognito talking to Martin and using him many racial slurs.
Hazing is fine with me, to an extent. When teams go out to dinner and they make the first round rookie pay the bill of $10,000, that is OK by me. Making the rookies pick up the doughnuts on Saturdays is fine with me. What happened to Martin over the past year and a half, though, is classic bullying of a grown man. As long as the hazing isn't detrimental to a player's emotions or physical body, I'm OK with the traditional initiation process.
Martin left the Miami Dolphins team because he felt he was being harassed by Incognito and others on the team, according to a written press release released by Martin's camp on Thursday.
The NFL got a hold of voicemails sent to Martin that racially and emotionally attacked Martin. Just these voicemails alone would be enough for me to give Martin the OK to file complaints about Incognito, but it didn't stop there, sadly.
Martin also was victim of many other bullying tactics by Incognito such as being forced to pay a $30,000 dinner bill. Paying a $10,000 bill is still hard for some new players in the NFL. With the NFL cutting back the amounts you are able to pay rookies, they aren't payed as much as rookies before them.
Although $10,000 seems to be the norm for rookies, a $30,000 bill for a player not drafted in the beginning of the draft is difficult to pay. Also, Martin was embarrassed by pictures on Incognito's Twitter and Instagram pages and constant racial text messages. Incognito once posted a picture on his Twitter and Instagram of Martin sitting in a go kart while calling Martin "Big Weirdo". The NFL has now started to investigate the situation.
All of those instances happened since Martin joined the Miami Dolphins last season as a rookie.
With this story continuously makes headlines as it should, more and more people are coming out and sharing their opinions on the bully in question. Everyone from former and current General Managers, players and coaches both who have played with and employed Incognito as well as opponents of him have shared their views of Incognito and how they view his actions and him as a person.
Incognito is now in his tenth season and is playing on his third NFL team making him encounter many different people during his tenure in the league. Former GM of the St. Louis Rams, Billy Devaney, talked about what it was like having Incognito on their team.
"His issues were anger management," Devaney said.
"He could not control himself. He always would let his anger get the better of him at the worst times…That's what we were dealing with there and that's enough. What I see now coming out of Miami, that's at a whole other level of disgust quite frankly." Devaney cut Incognito in 2009.
Bill Polian, former GM of the Indianapolis Colts, stated on ESPN that he had put Incognito on his Do Not Draft list because he was not mature enough or was a liability to the team.
Former football player Lawrence Jackson said that Incognito was "way worse than anybody I ever played against." Former New York Jets player Bart Scott called Incognito the "dirtiest player" he's every played against.
Many more people have come out and said their opinions of him and not many have been positive. When many people that are around the NFL and have been for years claim that Incognito is not someone people want to be around, that should give a strong indication about the said person's ways of going about things.
Now, some people have been claiming that Martin should grow up and get over it and to move on. That's where they are wrong. When someone leaves the team because they do not feel comfortable, that means the harassment went too far for too long. It's the same thing as any other job, if someone feels threatened or harassed then they should tell someone.
Just because Martin is in the NFL he shouldn't keep his mouth shut, it does not matter. If a man in the office of a paper company was being harassed continuously by another man, we wouldn't ask for that man to fight back with his fists. We also wouldn't ask for them to keep it bottled up inside as that has been proven to be just as detrimental to a persons health. Going to an authority when you are being harassed, whether you work at a paper company, are in high school or in the NFL is the right thing to do.
The NFL is still a job, and just because you have to be tougher in football than most professions doesn't mean you have to hide all feelings and emotions.
Antrel Rolle, defensive back for the New York Giants, said that what Incognito did was wrong.
However, according to Rolle, Martin should have handled the situation differently, face to face.
"I think the other guy is just as much to blame as Richie because he allowed it to happen," said Rolle.
"At this level, you're a man. You're not a little boy, you're not a freshman in college, you're a man. I think everything has its limits. There is no way another man is going to make me pay for something that I choose not to pay for."
"I think Rolle is right in a way. Martin could have faced Incognito in person to tell him what he felt was wrong, but everyone has different ways with handling a bully. Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall stood up for Martin during a recent press conference.
"A little boy falls down and the first thing we say as parents is ‘Get up. Shake it off. You will be OK. Don’t cry.’ When a little girl falls down, what do we say? ‘It’s going to be OK.’
"We validate their feelings. So right there from that moment, we are teaching our men to mask their feelings, don’t show their emotions. It’s that times a hundred with football players.
"You can’t show that you’re hurt. You can’t show any pain. So, for a guy that comes into the locker room and he shows a little vulnerability, you know, that’s a problem. So that’s what I mean by ‘The Culture of the NFL,’ and that’s what we have to change.”
Bullying happens at all levels of life. High school bullying is getting a lot more press recently because of a growing number of suicides stemming from bullying in person, over phone calls and over the internet among other ways. People forget that bullying happens in the workplace between adults, as well. Now, Martin deserves more love in this situation.
Some NFL personal are saying that Martin is mentally weak and handled the situation poorly.
How in the world has Martin handled this poorly other than tell someone sooner? I think it's embarrassing for people to back and support Incognito and say publicly that they want him back on the team more than Martin.
Incognito has made Martin's life hard enough that he made him leave the team. Leaving the team is, to me, just as effective as telling someone about it because it gets the point across loudly. Remember, Incognito has been called a 'punk' and a 'bully' and has also been convicted of assault in college.
To some, Martin should have stood up for himself and said enough is enough to Incognito's face or anyone else who was harassing him. However, no one knows Martin's inner thoughts except him.
No one knows how the months of harassing has affected his personality, emotional state, play on the field and more. Incognito is the leader of the team, over 300 pounds and has an assault conviction on his record. It is difficult to conceive someone telling a man with that track record to end his endless emotional abuse if you have already been destroyed mentally by that person.
Mike Wallace, wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, said that he loves Incognito and that he "wishes he was here".
Wallace's quotes about Incognito are, quite frankly, embarrassing. A white player, Incognito used the N word more than once in his voicemails and frequently over text messages. How Mike Wallace, a black man, is OK with this is beyond me. I'm just as confused about Wallace's contentedness of his racial slur use as I am with Mike Pouncey's.
TMZ has obtained and shared a video of Incognito using racial slurs like the N word in Pouncey's presence. Mike Wallace should not be saying that he wishes Incognito was back when he is saying the N word and telling Martin that he wants to hit his mother and calling him racial slurs.
Armondo Salguero reported on Wednesday that Incognito is an "honorary black man". Take that how you will, but this kind of reverse racism is confusing to many people outside of the Miami locker room.
It goes to show how close the team was with Incognito and the kind of camaraderie that Incognito has with his teammates. Not one active Miami Dolphin has come out to say that Incognito was dead wrong about what he did and Incognito was a bad person.
Nothing like that has been said while players on the Dolphins are coming forward expressing their respect and love for Incognito while showering praise on the man who threatened to kill another teammate.
I guess I am just dumb-founded at how someone could really be on Incognito's side of this situation.
Not all people understand what it's like to get bullied by someone for an extended period of time. Even if you are a 300-pound man who hits people and gets paid for doing so, you still have emotions and feelings that can be hurt. In the NFL, you're supposed to be tough.
When you are getting paid to hit people so they don't hit another player, you have to be tough all the way through. However, that does not exempt them from feeling threatened and depressed. Incognito is a smart bully, he figured that he wouldn't say anything so he kept on attacking him.
Every rookie has to go through their rookie season expecting a certain amount of hazing and duties that rookies are, by tradition, supposed to do. Hazing differs from coach to coach and some coaches are stricter than others.
I think that has to come into play here, and maybe this is the only flaw that Martin has in this whole ordeal. Martin maybe should have told someone sooner that he was bothering him, but who can say that he didn't? Who says that he didn't try? I find it very hard to believe that no one else knew for the past year and a half that this was going on between Martin and Incognito and I find it hard to believe the coach didn't either.
If Joe Philbin, head coach of the Miami Dolphins did not know this was happening, then this he has to shoulder at least some of the blame. If the recent reports are true that Philbin ordered Incognito to call Martin in order to toughen him up, then that's Philbin's fault. Philbin should have instructed what to say more clearly.
The type of language that Incognito used was a combination of words that shouldn't be said to any human being no matter where you are. Also, if Philbin wanted something done about Martin's lack of perceived toughness and effort, as the coach he should have done something himself. It's embarrassing that he sent a player to do his work that he is payed to do.
Philbin should have made his locker room a better environment, should have kept more lookout for this type of thing and kept closer tabs on his players and what was taking place.
Philbin brought in Incognito to be a tough leader in the locker room and on the team, but given his past, he should keep closer watch on him. Philbin's press conferences have been embarrassing in that he has given blanket statements and said basic statements to keep the press happy.
He has said that he hasn't seen anything wrong in the locker room and when he says that, I really question his leadership and overlook of his team. I even question how much time he spends with his team and talking to people. Was Incognito such a leader on the team that he figured that everything would be fine if he was there to whip people into place?
If so, that's bad coaching in my eyes. You don't put a player who has been convicted of assault in a leadership position like that. The Miami Dolphins organisation from the owner on down should be held responsible as well because they didn't stop any of this.
Richie Incognito is a bully. I will never side with him on this issue. Martin was bullied by a racist football player to the brink.
Incognito is a racist person who needs to be out of the NFL as soon as possible and I hope NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acts accordingly.
How can a man get away with saying he wants to defecate in another man's mouth, saying that he will slap the man's mother and that he will kill him?
How is anyone going to defend Incognito after the quotes that have come out from Incognito to Martin. Martin was a victim of racism, bullying and harassment.
I want someone to stand up for Martin on that team because he deserves that much.
The Miami Dolphins are a sub .500 team with a sub .100 team attitude, and the actions taking place in that locker room between many players are outrageous to say the least. Incognito is one of the worst human beings in the NFL, and I'm not the only person that is claiming that.
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