I came to this with an open mind.
I was happy to forget the history before going in to the 1,000 texts between these two players.
Richie Incognito was the villain here, Jonathan Martin the victim, and serious question marks raised as what classes as acceptable boisterous locker room behaviour.
But we live in a world now where all actions can be seen, found and your character, even in private is now the business of the entire world.
I’m sure we can all admit that none of us are totally innocent of saying a few things that we shouldn’t in private. But this really, really goes far over a line.
Normally, I’d include a few quotes but I can’t bring myself to do it . Instead I shall give you my take on happened here:
Two highly motivated athletes, completely outside the realms of the normal society, embarked upon a crusade of almost predatory sexual conquest across the country. The two finally fell out when Incognito pushed Martin’s boundaries a little too far after months of parties, drugs, women and his agent hoped his background would make him look the better man when it all went public.
That is just my take on it from reading these texts and admittedly, this isn’t every single message exchanged or any locker room revelations. It also has a presumably large amount of omissions and redactions.
We get very little sense of what happened to Martin other than he ‘snapped’. And that when the media got hold of this it very quickly escalated to a point where Incognito was concerned for his friends mental health, even questioning his own.
It’s probably not a bad question to ask, seeing as he also mentions, I presume jokingly, an offer to ‘off’ a woman after assuming that Martin got her pregnant.
My mind is now thoroughly closed.
Living in a ridiculous world of complete competition, and enjoying the spoils of high profile success both financially and socially, is no excuse for these two.
Incognito is undoubtedly a horrible human being and whether or not Martin tried to keep up with him to fit in and finally broke down or not is immaterial. Both men are equally at fault for their characters and are reprehensible if the texts are anywhere near accurate.
The victims are us, the fans. We’ve been sold down a river by carefully crafted spin from the agents of these guys. Obviously they are fully aware of how much damage this could do to their players and the NFL overall if this behaviour is as prevalent as we are led to believe.
As far as scandal goes, the NFL is no stranger to abhorrent and criminal behaviour like drugs, murder, sexual assault, et. al. But when it comes to the locker room, boisterous, almost animalistic behaviour is encouraged.
The teams are known as a band of brothers, to steal a phrase, and they will live and bleed for their fellow teammates, and keep spirits up by making fun of each other.
But this isn’t about that anymore. This is now about the atrocious behaviour of two people whose adolescent tendencies have got them into a almighty scandal and how the league, and the team, can get as much distance between them and the players as possible.
The full report from the NFL is due within the next 14 days and its safe to say that neither of these players will be playing professional football again. If the likes of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens can’t get teams with all of the things that they’ve done, how are these two players, one already with a history of previous problems, going to get signed up.
The sensible answer is that they won’t. And it will be interesting to see how quickly the NFL and the Dolphins can put this story to bed and bury it.