A twist in the alleged “bullying” case against suspended Miami Dolphin offensive lineman Richie Incognito seems to be emerging as reports are now stating that the message was played openly in the locker by Jonathan Martin in front of his teammates.
Now the message was obviously not the cause of Martin’s recent meltdown, but for it to be the focus of the harassment and character flaw it has been portrayed to be, well … let’s focus on the things he said rather than what we think he is doing.
There are really only two player-related stories in all of this, and the rest of it can be chalked up to mismanagement and an inability to determine what character really is. The first focus should be on what is really happening here with Martin. What we know for sure is that something caused him to leave the team. Incognito may have been hazing him, but the latest reports indicate that not only was he a great teammate, but that he and Martin were actually pretty good friends.
Something is wrong with Martin. I’m going to reserve my accusations that he is soft, a quitter or crazy. Instead, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and wait to for him to speak openly about what actually transpired that led him to make the decision to walk out on the team and file a complaint with the NFL.
The second part of this discussion is how much of a racist Incognito has been portrayed as. If the reports are true and there is more to that voice message than what was initially released, then the listener would know it was all in jest by the end of it and that he actually wanted to talk to him. That being said, when certain people see that, then they may find it to be an acceptable way to talk to other people, friends or otherwise — and it absolutely isn’t.
In his defense, a locker isn’t exactly an everyday environment. Whether we like it or not and want to accept or not, the locker room is it’s own world. Things get said in there that don’t get said in public. The guys we see at the podium doing the post-game interview aren’t the same guys we root for on the field; it’s the guy in the locker room. There is a reason the cliche “what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room” exists.
There is something bigger happening here in this story and it hasn’t been exposed yet. The NFL will continue its investigation and hopefully they will get to the bottom of it.