Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito have become household names for all the wrong reasons. The scandal took over the media after Martin walked away from the Miami Dolphins and checked himself into the hospital for psychological treatment due to abuse from several teammates. Most of that stemmed from the actions and words of Incognito, and the NFL immediately issued an investigation.
The Ted Wells Report laid out every incident that happened over the course of Martin and Incognito’s relationship. No one was in store for what the report brought to light. Martin and other teammates fell victim to extremely harsh treatment – including racism – from Incognito and other players. Not only did certain players get mistreated, but also a Japanese-born assistant trainer was called racial slurs including “Jap”, “Chinaman” and “dirty communist.”
The incidents exposed in the Wells report came as a surprise even after most of the world was aware that Incognito was a jerk. He had seemingly made it back to land after his career and persona started to sink. Now there is more heat than ever on Incognito and many are looking for a solution. The problem solving will begin with the punishment of the wrongdoers, but the issue will not die. Like it or not, such treatment in NFL locker rooms is probably more common than one would think. The league is full of players who come from different backgrounds with many different religious beliefs and ways of seeing the world.
Incognito has shed light on a problem that has always existed, but it took one player’s cry for help in order for the story to break worldwide. Now, with the attention of millions and millions of people who are monitoring the situation, the NFL has to find a way to make a change. A quick answer would be to keep a closer eye on the relationships of players. Another fix could be to bring in team physiologists as most players have stress to get off their chests. This could change way things operate behind the scenes in the NFL but only for the better. Too often are players mistreated because of their age, race or sexual orientation.
Every player in the NFL has worked all of their lives to achieve their dreams. The last thing they need is to make it to the league and not feel welcome by their own teammates. That is something no amount of money could fix. I honestly believe that this situation will end in a positive way. Now that most of the negativity has surfaced, we can all focus on finding a healthy solution. I am sure NFL players will be hesitant to come out and air the team’s dirty laundry, but I am also sure there is a solution sight.