What up world? This is EJ and I’m back with another edition of The Blog About Nothing. This week’s blog will be a little different. Instead of jumping from topic to topic, I’m going to stick on only one topic this week: the situation with the Miami Dolphins. As some of you all may know, a conflict started in the Miami Dolphins locker room that has casted a light on bullying, and hazing in the National Football League. As I predicted in last week’s edition of the blog, the situation between Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, has turned into a national discussion where opinions on both sides are being loudly heard.
In one corner you have those defending Incognito, who for a period of over a year, has teased and bullied Martin at every turn. Those who defend Incognito paint Jonathan Martin as a pansy (among worst insults) for not being willing to physically stand up to Incognito and his tactics. In another corner you have the defenders of Martin, who decry Incognito as a racist, and for carrying on the archaic rules of sports locker rooms where the bully is rewarded and those who are smart are depicted as being soft. Incognito, who apparently feels like he is being singled out, has been proven to be a bit of a racist. Besides leaving voicemails for Martin, where he drops the N-word several times, there is a TMZ released video where he loudly shouts the N-word in the direction of Dolphins center Mike Pouncey. Pouncey in turn, smiles and hugs Incognito. Or maybe it’s just me depicting him as a racist.
Why? According to reporting from Armando Salgado of the Miami Herald, many of Incognito’s teammates consider him to be an “honorary black man”. So, an “honorary black man”, is justified in bullying and addressing Martin as the N-word because he was deemed acceptable to use it. Current and ex-players are doing their best to justify Incognito’s actions as boys being boys, but this story isn’t going away because too many people, like myself, have questions for the world these athletes live in.
Boys being boys, is one issue I have with this story. From the outside looking in, the NFL doesn’t seem to value players that are intelligent, and have off the field pursuits. Jonathan Martin is no fool. His parents are Harvard educated, and he himself attended Harvard-Westlake, which is an elite prep school in Studio City, California. From there he went on to a solid stint at Stanford University. For that, he is labeled as soft, or needing to be toughened up as what the Dolphins brass allegedly put Incognito up to. When I think of Jonathan Martin, I look back at the case of Florida State safety Myron Rolle.
Rolle is an intelligent human being. Well educated, coming out of the Hun School in Princeton, New Jersey he took his talents and his brain to Florida State University where he studied Pre-Med. At FSU, Rolle was awarded with a Rhodes Scholarship which allowed him a yearlong study at Oxford University, in England. In accepting this scholarship, critique of Rolle started pouring in stating that his off the field interests, was a detriment to the player he could be. In reality Myron and his 4.6 40 speed wasn’t fast enough to cover opposing receivers, but the fact that the man has a brain, made him soft, or uninterested, or not passionate about the game in the eye of some talent evaluators. That’s sad, that the combination of brain and brawn is not welcomed. The NFL? Brawn only.
Another issue I have with this story, is the question of blackness. As I stated earlier, Incognito was considered an “honorary black man” by his Dolphins teammates. Him, using the N-word in front of Pouncey, and to Martin was all too acceptable to his teammates. Martin, already being labeled soft, was also considered as not being “black enough” in some circles of the Dolphins locker room. As someone who’s had his own blackness questioned at several points in my life, I find this whole issue so disgusting. Just because I can express myself well, speak properly, be well educated, or have white friends, does not mean I’m not a black man. Challenging Martin, who is bi-racial, on his blackness, or lack thereof, is a saddening piece of commentary to what is already a sad story.
As I stated last week, I could relate to Martin because I was bullied at different points in my life, but learning of this new development where teammates challenged Martin’s blackness because of his worldview hurt me even more. Who are they, to label the man? Especially someone like Incognito, who has a checkered past (dismissed from two universities), and has a history of some gross behavior once he reached the NFL. The fact that ex-players and current Dolphins teammates can defend such a lout angers me. We’ve reached a point where Martin may not ever be accepted back not only in his own locker room, but the locker room of many NFL teams.
Finally, there may be two sides to a story, and we may never know all of the details involved but this whole experience is troubling. Time changes. Evolution should take place, but in the warrior culture that is the NFL, everything stays the same. Incognito might be suspended without pay, but here is someone who racially abused a teammate, was sexually inappropriate with a golf course attendant at a Dolphins sponsored golf outing, but is still being defended by his teammates! Incognito is either a psychopath or a sociopath, yet the onus is on Martin for not being physical and punching the bully in the nose. The fact is the NFL is a workplace, and subject to the same workplace conduct any other business is held to. Try harassing someone like this in your workplace? You’d be fired. Try punching the workplace bully in the nose? You’d be fired. This whole thing should be open and shut in my eyes: Martin has proof of Incognito’s harrassment, and Incognito should be dismissed. However, what we have is debate, grey area, and a whole lot of mixed feelings. Sad, troubling, and despairing time… indeed.
Sorry, to get all heavy but I thank you for reading. Please continue to support www.7poundbag.com and hopefully next week I’ll be back to my usual light and airy style. Peace.
Tiny URL for this post: