Dolphins Fail the Test on Bullying, and Now It’s Up to the Commissioner

The N.F.L. commissioner, Roger Goodell, faces a challenge in addressing a bullying situation that was so intense that it forced a football player to leave his team.

Comments: 81

  1. Martin is an extremely intelligent young man, with a degree from Stanford. His parents are educated, and apparently imbued him with a sense of honor. He made a rational decision. Why should he remain in a profession where he is abused? Life is too short. Why spend it with people like Incognito, and his admirers?

  2. I agree. For those who say he now will be labeled "soft" ... well maybe in that violence laden game. Others like me call him smart, knowing when its best to take a stand, and say I'm not going to take this anymore. My guess is his degree and his good sense and upbringing will stand him in good stead. Good luck to him.

  3. Martin will be a huge success in life no matter what he chooses to do. And, his options are many. Incognito will most likely be a fat bouncer at an after hours dive bar. And, likewise for those who sat back and watched the abusive behavior, condoned it or encouraged it. All the shoes haven't dropped yet and some of them will come off the feet of management.

  4. Martin can be anything he wants and I read he wants to study medicine. He probably realized what he already knew, that the life expectancy of a NFL lineman was reason enough to get out. And with the simple observation of the CONDONED racist hazing, he realized that he has a way to collect from the lovers of violence who hide behind the walnut doors.

  5. Alas, Mr. Rhoden and others have spilled the beans about the true nature of a good segment of NFL rosters: vile and malicious.

    Incognito is now the poster boy for bullying. But there have been all sorts of other bad acts by NFL players.

    I had seen the No. 1 NFL draft pick in the dorm. He was truculent and condescending. Years later I attended law school, and in private the criminal law professor told us of an act committed by this fellow so depraved I could not believe it. However, the professor had been a prosecutor who had sent several people to the electric chair, so the story had credibility.

  6. The setting is Florida!! Nuff said.

  7. That's like saying all Southerners are rednecks. Boorish behavior isn't housed by State , it's a state of mind.

  8. Yes, because hazing and bullying has never happened on any other NFL team outside Florida.

  9. No wonder he goes incognito.
    Measure his neck and know the amount of steroids that went down his throat.

  10. I admire Martin's courage in standing up to a whole team and walking out the door. I'm sure many on the team were ashamed of themselves as they followed and obeyed a ringleader against their better judgment.
    I don't think Martin turned the other cheek. He chose to not be submissive, which is what the pecking order requires. I think people underestimate how offensive racial insults are and how repugnant that is to the general public. That is why this won't go away.

  11. What does 'ordinary' workplace have to do with it? It is a workplace and that means that people should have the expectation that they can be treated with some degree of civility and respect. Take his alleged actions and words and put it into any other work environment in the world (ok maybe not the Taliban) and this is so far beyond unacceptable as to be jaw dropping.

    What I am always struck by is before and after the game how many players, hug and chat with the opposing team. Yes its a competition but they are not crazy, they have achieved something few people ever can. They can be decent to one another at least.

    Incognito should never play again - but as Michael Vick has shown ; talent eclipses sin and the win is everything.

    When it comes to football, ask yourself if Adrian Peterson would do that. He is the embodiment of class; Incognito is the opposite.

  12. I hope you are kidding about Peterson being the embodiment of class. Classy men don't get women pregnant and then get out of the picture. They stay around and do the work of being a father . He is a great running back .

  13. "What I am always struck by is before and after the game how many players, hug and chat with the opposing team. ... They can be decent to one another at least." Try telling that to Gerald McCoy whose Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaches yelled at him for showing good sportsmanship in helping an opposing player up off the field after a play. Mr. McCoy demonstrated his integrity and humanity by spurning his coaches tirades.

    What a pity that Mr. McCoy and Mr. Martin are such rarities in the NFL, and Mr. Incognito and his teammates are truly representative of the Neanderthal mentality of the players, the coaches, the owners.

  14. Michael Vick was convicted, sentenced and served time. Where is it written one can never pay societal debt and return to making a living at a chosen profession?

  15. Incognito, the alleged bullier, t made almost 10x the salary of Martin, his alleged victim, in 2012.

  16. That's because compensation in the NFL is largely based on seniority. You get a contract out of college, and then you have to prove your worth to get that second bigger contract as free agency looms.

    Also, you can't go by salary in many cases, because the rookies get huge signing bonuses and smaller salaries. A 2nd round draft choice like Martin would have received a very large bonus.

  17. Ugh!

    To me there shouldn't be any defending of indefensible. The Dolphins locker room has to be a vile, repulsive pit. What is really repulsive about this whole episode is that, like Vick, he'll probably come out of this smelling like a rose.

    Sadly, the truth is nice guys finish last. In a fair world, Incognito wouldn't exist and thrive as he has done his entire life.

    Maybe this will force the other NFL teams to change their tolerance for such disgusting behavior, but I'm not willing to bet a penny on it.

  18. This situation is beyond irritating at the pro level. Hazing exists in many forms at all ages. At the pro level, the idea now is that the people hazing know and understand how far they can take it with each individual to get the very best out of that person, eventually drawing the line and making them a true brother of the team. It's different for each person and great managers/coaches understand this well, hence their success wherever they are. The fact that no one stepped in just shows the lack of leadership on many levels in the miami organization starting with ownership. They've been a joke for years. This episode is beyond stupid and should not be tolerated.

  19. "As for Martin, at another time and in a different context, he would be lauded for refusing to be provoked."

    Martin should be lauded now! He made a very brave choice to walk away from the NFL rather than endure abuse or stoop to the level of his harassers. The idea that he should have physically attacked his tormentors lest he be labeled "soft" is asinine retrograde machismo.

    It takes real courage, and real masculinity, to declare, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

  20. After 40 years as a fan, I'm done. The last straw for me was the PBS Frontlline expose on the NFL coverup of the long term damage done by repeated sub-concussive hits and the concussions themselves.

    The brass knew for years what the pounding was causing and told the players--very young men---to suck it up or be considered "soft."

    Note that the league in its $765M settlement "admitted no wrong-doing." Haven't heard that phrase outside of Wall Street lately.

    For years I turned a blind eye to the stories of the thuggish, even murderous behavior of some of the players off the field ; that's just a few bad apples, I said, because I wanted to cheer on "my" team and I loved the excitement of the competition and the uncertainty of the outcome.

    But the damage is, finally, too much for me to comfortably ignore any more, and I haven't watched a game since the first week of October, nor do I intend to at this time.

    This Incognito-Martin business simply underlines the extremes of the professional football culture.

    From the commissioners, to the owners, to the players it is a business...and as the brain injuries and now the Miami Dolphins are demonstrating, a particularly dirty business.

  21. Remembering Jason Pierre-Paul's treatment of Amukamara last season and reflecting on Pierre-Paul's troubles this season-one thought: Karma is hell

  22. "But do not blame the so-called locker-room culture for what has burst into the open in Miami. Blame an absence of leadership." Really, reporter William Rhoden?

    So, the self-obsessed players are not to blame? The poor boys need violence and cruelty for their daily fare? They're not mature enough to be decent human beings.

    Players Will Davis and Mike Wallace apparently find Incognito's disgusting behavior "funny;" Incognito is "someone everybody loves?" Grow up!

    A dirty player is honored and nothing is his fault! He and his so-called teammates cannot be held accountable because their leaders didn't control their nastiness? The football culture shows itself sadistic, juvenile and gratuitously violent both in the locker room and the management office.

    Jonathan Martin is the only true hero in sight, the one with integrity and character.

  23. incognito's actions border on being criminal if he and his gang forced rookies to pay for outrageous dinners. I hope his tarnished career is over.

  24. The players and NFL people that say Martin is soft have taken too many hits to the head. I admire that he stood up for himself finally. It sounds like the culture in that locker room allowed the depraved bully to run the show and it's sad to think that this vaulted entity - a pro football team - could be so vapid and character-less.

  25. Hey! NFL! Denial is more than just a river in Egypt.

  26. Boys like Richie Incognito—he does not deserve to be called a man—cause much of the trouble in the world. As a society, we need to stop sending the message that being an entitled sociopath is fine as long as you have some sort of "talent." I don't believe a lifetime ban is too harsh at all.

  27. Anyone who defends this knuckledragging neanderthal Incognito and players that behave like him should have their heads examined.

  28. NFL football is big business, but young players are the fuel that keeps the machine going. as more and more parents dissuade their kids from playing football -- for a variety of reasons -- the NFL will start to fall. They're just a bunch of pig-dogs.

  29. Pigs and dogs are soulful, intelligent and natural beings, which will never be said about the Incognitos of the world.

  30. This behavior begins in red leagues and continues up through high school and college. Coaches turn a blind eye to locker room "hijinks" -- maybe they think the combativeness will carry over into the game. Unfortunately, the enabling of bullying and the sense of entitlement carries on and shows up in the all-too frequent incidents of sexual assault on campus and afterward.

    Why would anyone think elite athletes would all of a sudden grow up and behave with a modicum of self control when they turn pro, when they've gotten away with murder since they were 13 years old.

  31. Many if not most bullies are at heart cowards who pick only on those they think won't physically fight back. Martin has exhibited far more courage by bringing this abhorrent treatment to light.

  32. Martin is intelligent and options besides football. Incognito is a meathead who probably can't do anything else than pick things up and put them down. I wish Martin the best of luck in whatever he does. I'm sure he'll be just fine.

  33. Only the truly weak and insecure use the word "soft" to revile that which they worry about being themselves. A 6'5 300 pounder whose parents are Harvard grads was probably taught at an early age not to use his size to get his way; more likely he was probably urged to protect those smaller than him and to use reason and persuasiveness to succeed socially. I doubt that any other kids who didn't know him would single him out, at his size, to bully or confront or tease.

    So when Incognito started to do this with him it must have come as a blind side hit--his lack of response and willingness to go along probably only infuriated this creep to continually up the ante until the situation became intolerable for Martin. Rather than physically assault Incognito, another red flag for any African-American, once again trained to avoid that particularly dangerous scenario, Martin went to his agent, whom he clearly trusts, to intercede for him. That's called playing by the rules, and casting your lot with the rule of law.

    I guess that's soft.

  34. Apparently the Dolphins have no one on their current roster who has enough presence and character to police the locker room.

    The leadership void doesn't end there. I have not read anything about this episode that reflects well on Joe Philbin's attributes and abilities as a head coach. From what I can tell, he's a clueless empty sweat suit from top to bottom.

  35. Martin should be honored at half-time of this year's Super Bowl.

  36. Although we share the same name, we are definitely at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Honored? A Stanford graduate would have had a better introspective at graduation time and make carriers choices that better match his personality. The NFL is not the boy scouts. best if he walks away and let the big boys play

  37. Serg,

    it's about diversity. Not even 50 years ago they were saying Blacks just didn't have what it takes to be quarterbacks. By your reasoning you can't be intelligent and talented in nonphysical ways and play professional football. Football players should behave like men, not big boys.

  38. Like Mr. Rhoden wrote, "In the N.F.L., personnel directors might look at Incognito — crude, troubled and violent, but also a former Pro Bowler — and say, “He’s our kind of guy.” Mr. Martin, a Stamford educated son of two Harvard educated parents, was clearly not the NFL type of player usually found in the locker rooms of most NFL teams.

    Incognito was reported to have had orders to "toughen up" Martin from his coaches. Pro football is a violent game. The rules of the ordinary workplace go out the window when it comes to football. I don't really know if bullying or rookie hazing can be stopped in the NFL.

  39. Anyone who has had to share a high school or college locker room with a football team is not surprised at this. I never saw anything this bad, but I saw enough to know that if I wanted to find a loud, self-centered, over-bearing, over-confident sexist, shower-urinating bully, the first place to look was the football team. Sportswriters seem to ignore this aspect of the game-- perhaps because they don't want to be shunned from interviews, perhaps because they view this as boys-being-boys, or perhaps because after years of exposure, they become numb to the fact that they're covering and glorifying a lot of not-very-nice, and not-very-responsible people-- as witnessed by the arrest records of most teams and the huge percentage of NFL players who end up bankrupt. This league feeds off a steady stream of young talent, pretends to take things like character and safety very seriously, and then spits them out afterwards. I used to think the gladiator comparison was over-the-top, but frankly it's a fairly good one.

  40. Good to see it's been pointed out that Martin is just as strong for stepping away as he would of been had he punched Incognito in the jaw. Both appropriate actions in this situation.

    I'm disappointed, but not surprised, by his teammates' responses. Apparently Miami has no leaders in the locker room.

  41. I'm currently reading League of Denial by Mark Fainru-Wada. It doesn't take a brain scientist to see that Richie Incognito is showing the effects of too many hits to the head. Unfortunately in 10 or 20 years he will be like far too many of the other former players described in the book - a non-functioning human. Incognito's actions deserve our scorn, but he deserves the help of the league and medical community that have made him the person that he is. Hopefully, it is not too late for him.

  42. Richie Incognito has had problems throughout his career, including college. He needs help, but I don't see why a lifetime ban would be so unthinkable. How could he get better if he keeps taking hits?

  43. Jonathan Martin is to be admired, but increasingly there are reports of players and broadcasters blaming Martin for being bullied and this is shameful and frightening beyond the bullying as such. If there is no dignity in football, then the sport is harmful to our children who find models in football players because the media create these models or model stories for our children.

  44. "Professional football is not an ordinary workplace." Great ... let's just keep on giving the athlete man-boys a pass on the accepted standards of civilized behavior. Because that has worked so well so far.

    Of course it is an ordinary workplace. People get paid to do a job. If they mistreat their co-workers they get fired. It's not complicated.

    The bizarre notion that tolerating bad behavior without complaint is manly or tough, or that you must respond in kind, is not manliness or toughness. It is stupid and puerile.

  45. My son went to high school and briefly played football with Martin and described him as kind, humble and incredibly talented athletically. He was truly a role model. If there isn't room in the NFL for a guy like him, then brain damage isn't limited to the players.

  46. Todd Browning's Freaks & Lord of the Flies ==== Miami Dolphins

  47. This bizarre idea persists in certain circles - Greek culture at universities, the military, sports teams, marching bands, boarding schools - that hazing and bullying is the only way to bring a team together. It's wrong, and it's cruel. And the fact that some few people sail through and claim it made them better doesn't make it right. It's a cheap justification for continuing barbarism.

  48. Modern day gladiators playing in multi-billion dollar forums for 32 multi-million dollar Ceasars, and our governments, both federal and local, support the whle thing with anti-trust protections and tax subsidies. I love football, but I sometimes stop to ask myself, are we living in Rome before it burns?

  49. The article states that a lifetime ban would be too harsh, but if the allegations about threats to kill Martin and/or track down his family turn out to be true wouldn't criminal charges be warranted? If convicted of a crime would Richie still be their kind of guy?

  50. The Eagles organization had no problem employing Michael Vick so I guess the answer would be definitely yes.

  51. Maybe if our society didn't worship these guys so much they wouldn't feel empowered to behave like pampered morons.

  52. A lifetime ban of Incognito won't be too harsh if he is guilty of violating the Civil Rights act. It is illegal to use racist or hate speech language to attack anyone, regardless of their occupation. NFL stands for 'Not For Long' and my cousin's experience in the Jets training camp, where a starting linebacker approached him in the chow line and threatened to 'break his knees and take him out' if he 'came close to taking my job' is a dark side you all ignore. That's not brave, it's not heroic, it's petty and you won't believe it if you buy the NFL's propaganda, as too many clearly have. You can be gone from Not For Long in seconds with lifelong serious crippling injuries, Incognito likely made full use of this in attacking Martin. Incognito and his nasty attacking hate speech needs to go, and his posts and threats and taunts and outright insults need to be made public. Bullies depend upon being so outrageous privately and so gregarious publicly that publicly no one would ever believe it coming from them. I'm a disabled vet, you would never believe I suffered a boss who told cripple jokes, who insisted on holding walking meetings, but hey, everyone thought HE was a GREAT GUY. But, what do I know about it anyway? I'm just a biased whining disabled veteran, right?

  53. "there may always be whispers that Martin is 'soft.' " ? Mr. Incognito is a jerk and his behavior was, and likely has always been, offensive. However, Mr. Martin is a 6'5" 300+ lb. professional football player. It is not only OK for him to physically confront any teamate acting as Mr. Incognito did, it is expected. That Mr. Martin did not do so is why there will never be any question in NFL front offices regarding his softness.

  54. After the physical violence - how far does the next escalation go -

  55. May I ask, what would then be next course of action for Mr. Martin after a physical confrontation? From all accounts Mr. Incognito has had leave or be dismissed from previous teams he has played for.

    What those in "leadership"now think about Mr. Martin is wholy irrelevant.

  56. Martin was in an impossible situation. It wasn't just Incognito harassing him. Other linemen were in on the lunch room prank that finally made Martin lose it and take off. And there are now reports that Incognito was in part following instructions from coaches to toughen up Martin. It's not just a matter of being mentally or physically weak or strong. As everyone who has a job knows, there's the whole matter of office politics to deal with. Incognito was on the Dolphins' six-player "leadership" council. How far was Martin, barely removed from his rookie season, going to get by picking a fight with Incognito? If Martin had fought back, he likely wouldn't have bad the support of the other players, because many of them seem to love Incognito. And he would've been viewed as a trouble maker by the coaches and management.

    Martin had low status, no power and no backers in positions of power. So I understand why he chose the path he did. He's Stanford-educated. He's young. He's got alternatives to football that will allow him to make a good living and provide for his family.

    I've read no reports that Martin was a poor player. By all accounts, he was more than competent. It's a shame that there wasn't an atmosphere in that locker room to foster a smart, well-behaved, competent, young player's enjoyment of the game. Instead, the hostile atmosphere created by Incognito and tolerated by other players, coaches and management drove Martin away.

  57. This article is to be applauded because it acknowledges that workplace bullying almost always has the approval of management or their ignorance of its effect to employees and their bottom line. Martin is one of the lucky ones that could quit his job, even one as lucarative as an NFL player. Most employees are not so fortunate and endure the abuse until it does them in.

    For people that work in New York State, there is currently active legislation called the Healthy Workplace Bill that will address workplace bullying. The bill number is S3863/A4965. More information can be found at http://www.nyhwa.org/.

    If you've experienced workplace bullying, contact us and we'll get your experience noted to our NYS Legislators.

    Mike

  58. In all of the reporting on this, I have yet to see anyone indicate that this was an issue which was brought to the attention of the coaches or was even broached personally from Martin to Incognito as a problem. Bullying is something that we have to help kids and adults learn how to combat in a constructive way. If no one ever showed Martin how to handle the bullying and let others know when he thought it was getting out of control or over his limit, then how is he supposed to manage it as an adult? If Incognito did not get the message repeatedly and consistently that he was stepping over the line, it would seem from the type of character description he has been given that he would have little way of knowing what was too much and what was not.
    In an average work place, if someone has a personal issue with a co-worker they have very clearly laid out steps they can take to deal with the situation. While it may be harder to do in sports, it should not be considered impossible or even unnecessary.
    We need to teach our kids to stand up for themselves in a non-violent way and how to take criticism for what it is, a message that the person making the critique is not comfortable with the way things are being done.

  59. To those who criticized Martin for being soft and for not "standing up for himself" - What would you say if he actually took down Incognito; or, worse, took a piece of fire arm into the Dolphins' locker room? Would you then consider him manly enough? I think what Martin did is more courageous than reacting on the same level of Incognito. It takes guts to walk away from the bully, come forward with the grievance and work with the power that be (deservedly or not) to rectify the situation. Let's hope that his bravery would not be in vain.

  60. The NFL is a rich but deeply troubled institution. To the recent reports of the surfeit of dangers posed by head trauma and the crippling injuries that many players will sustain over a career we can now add psychological pain and suffering to this toxic mix. This is a brutal sport in every sense of the word.

    The locker room culture of the Miami Dolphins is ugly, gross and inhuman. It is a sewer where rich, spoiled veterans prey on young rookies through the use of humiliation and extortion schemes in the name of building camaraderie. What kind of upside down world is this? Is this the way to build a family or inspire loyalty to an organization? And it is hard to believe that the coaches and top management did not know. Anyone who has studied great organizations knows that these organizations have great leaders and great leaders always take care of their people. Effective leaders know what is happening to their people and shape the organizational culture to make it easy for them to excel.

    This is not the case here. So while it is easy to beat-up on the bully, those that let this happen are equally at fault. The head coach, the general manager, the owner and the team leadership council are all to blame. Beyond the Miami Dolphins one also wonders how many other locker rooms it the NFL are like this? Are these the models of men we would like our children to emulate?

  61. OK- time for some evidence based medicine. I recommend a randomized cohort study where half the teams allow bullying and half the teams treat the players as human beings. Outcomes include total wins, involvement with the criminal justice system, and children born in a non-marital circumstance. Failure to reach statistical significance outlaws bullying the season after the study is completed.

  62. Failure to reach statistical significance would actually prove the null hypothesis that there is no difference between allowing bullying and forbidding it. That would be evidence for allowing it to exist not for getting rid of it.

  63. Can we rid our society of bullying? There seems to be a fundamental need in groups to bully and create a pecking order, and consequently establish an omega role (or roles), those who become the butt of jokes, always picked on, yet somehow a necessary part of the group. Never mind fraternities, military academies, marching bands, football locker rooms....how about school? Can anyone honestly say they can't remember "that kid" at some point in their schooling? Or even at their workplace now?

  64. Well, if Jonathan Martin chooses not to resume his football career (or is not chosen), there is little doubt he will have another profession/career, given his intellectual capabilities. Ricky incognito?? Not so much, unless you consider professional wrestling to be a true profession/career. Maybe Ricky should watch "The Wrestler."

  65. Incognito will probably be suspended for a number of games, but Martin will still suffer from this. "Office" politics has a way of skirting the law by only adhering to its letter. It won't surprise me if down the road Martin is "set up" for a bad performance and eventually traded, just like in real corporate America.

  66. Jonathan Martin should play for the Seattle Seahawks.

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9581925/seattle-seahawks-use-unusual-t...

    Lord knows they could use some help on the offensive line.

    Richie Incognito is a pawn in the grand scheme of the NFL-industrial/media complex. I just hope his lack of impulse control is not an early sign of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

  67. @Older Mom in Seattle: Cross your fingers. You just might get your wish of Jonathan Martin playing for the Seahawks. From what I saw of the ESPN photo gallery, he just might like it there...provided he doesn't mind a little yoga. :)

  68. What's gone completely unmentioned is that there are other NFL players with Ivy League and Stanford educations. There are even --gasp -- Rhodes Scholars within the ranks of professional football. The difference? They're all white.

    Mr. Martin's education, his parents, his choice of major, are simply easy excuses to distract our focus from the uncomfortable truth: black athletes who dare defy cultural stereotypes often pay a heavy price. Cerebral, humble, white football players like Peyton Manning, Chad Pennington, and Nick Mangold are celebrated and touted as "smart". Black athletes like Amukamara, Tiki Barber, even Ricky Williams, and now Mr. Martin, are scorned by black and white athletes alike as "soft".

    It could be argued that the educational exceptionalism everyone uses to describe and defend Mr. Martin is itself a subtle, though unintended, type of racism. In that way we are perhaps as complicit in the problem as Richie Incognito himself.

  69. Commissioner G. has his rose colored view of the NFL and little regard for the real life aspects of the league. The commissioner is the owner's puppet and can be expected to do what he is told. I still can't figure out the logic of what he did in New Orleans, not to mention, the outdoor February Super Bowl. As far as what is going on in the Dolphins' locker room, who cares?

  70. One of the many, many reasons pro football should just go away.

  71. It's time to pull the plug on this stupid sport.

  72. Sooner than later, Incognito will be living his name.

  73. Martin is, by nature, a "Dolphin." If you know anything about dolphins, you know the team doesn't deserve the name. They should change their name to "the Miami Hyenas".

  74. Just because you play football doesn't mean you not a clown. Depends. Doesn't mean your not self centered and not a jerk. Depends. I find this real amusing on one level and sad on another. See, we get away with being jerks because we can. And we feel its fun. "nice". Glad I didn't go through life like that. And $$$$ doesn't own me. hahahahah.

  75. We have wrist watch communicators, now can we have football playing robots? The Jetsons nailed it, the NFL is doomed.

  76. I heard some interviews on the news last night with Miami players (sorry...don't know which ones)...and IMHO they sounded an awful lot like threats. I was left feeling like there were many players/coaches who participated in the abuse, and that the players were being "encouraged" to get out and do interviews attacking the victim.

    Having lived thru the days of tailhook right on up to the 21st century, the ONLY thing that works to kill off bad behavior in the workplace is absolute zero tolerance. If you know about it and don't report it...you're fired. PERIOD. It only takes about 1 instance to make the point. And the bottom line is, if you have abusers and/or cowards out there in your workplace, it's really not a huge loss if you have to fire several of them. Frankly, it just separates the wheat from the chaff.

  77. The fact is, Martin was supposed to finally say "no", say "stop", get in someone's face and give them an "I mean it" look.

    That was the point of all of it.

    Notice, not one Dolphin, not even anonymously, has criticized Incognito. He is an easy target because of his past issues, but to hear his teammates tell it, he is one of the most valuable men in that locker room.

    Tannehill said plainly that nothing in Martin ever changed from an outward perspective, so there was literally no way to know he was reaching a breaking point.

    And finally, the fact that Martin ran from the issue rather than, finally, face it down, is a sad confirmation of the team's suspicions that he is too soft for the NFL. Whatever Incognito threw at him, he was bound to hear worse on the field in the heat of battle.

    The point of all of this was to get Martin ready for the road ahead, so others knew they could on him when times were toughest. That is the point of any such treatment of young players. The fact that Martin believed it should end after his rookie season, only goes to suggest that he still dealt with "entitlement" issues, that his place as a veteran would be handed to him simply because he kept showing up for work.

    This is not Wall Street. This is the NFL, the most violent sport perhaps in the world. We all know the stakes here. Softness cannot be accepted. Only grit, toughness, loyalty and a bond forged from struggle will come close to being acceptable.

    Martin failed.

  78. Walt...don't fool yourself...the NFL is more Wall Street that Wall Street is. The NFL is not about a game, it's not about the players; it's all about money and legal rights. They know their legal responsibilities. They simply find it cheaper to ignore them - until now.

    That said, all of your "points" appear to me to be justifications. No, the responsibility was not Martin's to police the workplace or prove his "toughness". That is the job of the employer. And don't fool yourself. The Miami Dolphins are an employer. If they knowingly allow, or even fostered, a workplace that was threatening...well, they'll learn in a language that they understand - money.

  79. C.

    I'm not fooled, are you?

    The locker room is precisely about keeping Wall Street out. You earn your way into the fraternity of men. The Dolphins did not foster a threatening workplace, and all the evidence you need for that are the statements coming from the players themselves.

    Let us not assume there is a big picture issue here. I know the first wave, including many ex-players, saw this as a big picture issue, but perhaps it's not. Perhaps two things happened here: (1) a sensitive young man lost his bearings when confronted with his own character flaws; (2) a few buzzwords, abetted by a man's reputation, caught fire and burned very hot for a week or so.

    Incognito said he is "weathering the storm." That's exactly right.

    We don't always need to react so strongly to the first wave of "information", which is often incomplete, biased and therefore misleading.

    Just listen to what the Dolphins players themselves are saying. Listen to Tannehill and a few others. Then rethink this entire situation.

  80. So much for innocent until proven guilty. All the Times needs is an accusation of bullying and the call goes out for the figurative (for now) lynch mob. Maybe Martin has issues of his own. Maybe he doesn't. Maybe Incognito is in fact the bad man you paint him as. Maybe he isn't. whatever the case, he deserves a fair hearing. What sanctimony!

  81. Just like Manny being Manny. You take it until you don't want to do it anymore then you move him. The Dolphins will probably trade him for next year and Jonathan will go to Stanford Law School and maybe sue Richie and the Dolphins for harrassment and interfering with his ability to earn a living in the NFL.