But wait, the NFL bullying saga gets even more complicated as these news bulletins attest:
- Another relative newbie on the Dolphins team, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, is quoted as saying, “If you asked Jonathan Martin who his best friend is on this team two weeks ago, he’d say Richie Incognito.”This quote from the guy whom the two offensive linemen, Martin and Incognito, are paid to protect!
- QB Tannehill also said that Richie was the first guy to stand up for Jonathan when anything went down on the field — any kind of tussle. Also, that Jonathan and Richie hung out together off the football field.
- Speculation that Martin is too soft, that he is a coddled elite Stanford grad, and that he cracked under the pressure of the NFL and its locker room culture.
- Martin holes up at his California home maintaining silence. Is he preparing his testimony for the upcoming NFL investigative query?
- One insightful article asks, “In this economy, would you leave your job over a bullying boss?”
- As Mike Freeman in the Bleacher Report wrote:On the now-infamous voicemail in which Incognito used a racial slur, Incognito says he hated using the word, but that it was a joke.
“When I see that voicemail, when I see those words come across the screen,” he said. “I’m embarrassed by them.”
“To judge me by that one word is wrong,” he said.
And that’s how the interview went. Incognito aced it. I don’t believe anything he says, but I can see how many people will.Sometimes it looks like Martin is the bad guy and Incognito is the victim.
- Freeman continues: An NFL source also confirmed in an ESPN report that Incognito was called into the NFL offices in New York at the beginning of last season. The NFL queried Incognito about several allegations against him during a meeting which essentially served as a warning to Incognito.This is why the NFL, using this case and other problematic ones involving Incognito, is expected to come down hard on him.But the league likely won’t stop there. It will use what’s happened in Miami to issue formal protocols on bullying, I’m told. The NFL will do everything in its power to stop it from ever happening again—the same way it used the Saints case to all but end bounties.
“The hazing will be gone,” said one league source. “Totally gone. Done.”After trying to make sense of the Martin-Incognito case, I’ve got to conclude that:
Like domestic violence, bullying incidents and relationships often come down to a hard-to-figure out shouting match of “He/She said” versus He/She said.”
Workplace hazing and bullying can get pretty complicated, and when an extravagantly paid athlete abandons his team–just before some crucial season-determining games–you’ve got to admit the situation’s gotten out of hand.
Corporate bullying by bosses (like teachers who bully their students) might factor in, too. Allegedly, coaches asked Incognito to “bring Martin” into the fold,” get him toughened up for life in the NFL. This is just the opposite of what coaches should’ve done: namely identify and then protect those more likely to be vulnerable to bullying, even if they are 6’5” and weigh 350 pounds.
In conclusion, it looks like the NFL has a hazing/bullying problem in addition to a drugs and concussions problem.