Going into the 2014 season, it was clear that there were only a handful of teams that could realistically acquire Jonathan Martin. No, it wasn’t because he carried too high of a price tag like many many players do. It was because he was the first ever NFL player to be an official victim of bullying.
Obviously, Martin is one of many in the long line of young players who have been over-hazed in NFL locker rooms. But it’s 2014, and things have changed. Bullying is a big deal now, and Martin quickly became the poster child for anti-bullying last fall.
As sad as it is, for most teams, signing Martin would have been a bad business decision. Of the 31 potential teams that could have traded for him, there were really only a few equipped to handle the media circus and locker room-related ‘issues’ that would follow the OT.
The San Francisco 49ers were one of those teams.
Martin being traded to the Niners will of course reunite him with his former college coach, Jim Harbaugh. Even with the rumored rocky times in San Francisco right now, we all know that Martin has a safe place in Harbaugh’s locker room. You can’t guarantee he won’t be messed with, but on a team like the 49ers, it’s highly unlikely.
San Francisco is too busy thinking about winning. You can say what you want about Harbaugh, because he does act like a buffoon at times, but the guy is obsessed with winning football games. That’s the focus in the 49ers locker room right now — winning it all. There’s not going to be time for team meetings at strip clubs or for any of the ridiculous crap that went on in Miami.
Martin can now go back to focusing on playing football. He’s in a familiar place with a familiar coach. If this partnership doesn’t work out, then it’s okay to say that he wasn’t cut out to play pro football.