Friday, November 8, 2013 8:10am
We’ve spent quite a bit of time this week talking about the situation that’s gone on in the Miami Dolphins locker room. A lot of the news has been troubling. A lot of it is quite confusing. How in the world did it get to the point that a player would leave the organization while his tormenter/best friend (depending on who you ask) is told to just go away? It’s ugly, to be sure, but even more, it is just flat-out baffling. Therefore, I bring you: Things about the Richie Incognito – Jonathan Martin soap opera that make absolutely no sense to me…
- Why the hell would the Dolphins coaching staff think Richie Incognito was the right guy to “toughen up” Jonathan Martin? The Sun Sentinel reports that coaches asked Incognito, the offensive line’s undisputed leader, to take a heavy-handed approach with Martin after the second-year player missed a voluntary workout last spring. It should be noted that the guy they asked was kicked off his college team at Nebraska, never made it onto the team at Oregon, was waived by the St Louis Rams after a heated sideline confrontation with his head coach, and was widely considered to be amongst the dirtiest players in the NFL. Perhaps many felt Incognito had turned over a new leaf in recent years, but given his reputation, he doesn’t seem the most logical choice for a mentor, particularly when charged with the “toughen up” task.
- Why the hell does Richie Incognito think it’s OK to use the N-word? Is it because he’s ignorant? Yes, it’s because he’s ignorant. Painfully so.
- Why the hell are Richie Incognito’s teammates OK with him using the N-word? A former Dolphins teammate called Incognito an honorary black guy. Apparently the climate inside that locker room allowed for a white player in Incognito to use that term when talking to black teammates. Here’s the problem with that line of thinking: sadly, this may be OK with a few guys. It’s never going to be OK with everyone. And given the incendiary and ugly history of that despicable word, Incognito and his teammates should have been smart enough to recognize that eventually that was going to be a problem. There was no way someone wouldn’t eventually be offended. In my opinion, there was no way guys weren’t offended while it was going on and just kept their mouth shut rather than invite the trouble of making waves. Incognito was wrong, just as all his teammates were that gave this their tacit approval were wrong. A quick memo to all white guys: LOSE THE N-WORD ALTOGETHER. NEVER SAY IT. EVER.
- Why the hell does the Richie Incognito school of toughening up include threats of possible defecation into the mouth? That’s just gross.
- Why the hell do NFL teams make the rookies pay for exorbitant dinners and team outings? In Nate Jackson’s fantastic book “Slow Getting Up,” he talks of teammate Rod Smith holding a money meeting for rookies during Jackson’s first year with the Broncos, advising guys on smart spending habits. On the VERY NEXT PAGE, Jackson tells the story of his offensive rookie dinner that cost over $26,000, split four ways between rookie players that weren’t drafted particularly high. Jackson does add that teammate and all-around good guy Jake Plummer threw him some cash to help pay his share. But still, why does this ritual of making young players splurge out gobs of money for the enjoyment of veterans who have plenty of their own money go on? Yes, go out as a team. Yes, build camaraderie. But why stick someone with the bill? While many guys may not care at all, it doesn’t seem worth the likelihood of creating resentment amongst others that would rather do better things with their money.
- What the hell is up with Jonathan Martin? Was the situation in Miami so dire that there was nobody else Martin could go to? He’s a Stanford guy. He’s got a brain on his shoulders. Reports are that he never talked to head coach Joe Philbin. Did the hostility of the environment that Martin felt suggest to him that going to his coach would either not help or possibly make things worse for him? As ugly as this whole thing was, I refuse to believe there was no other alternative for Martin than to leave the team. Someone somewhere could have listened. Someone somewhere in that building could have helped. Then again, when your leadership council includes such savory characters as Richie Incognito, perhaps that’s not the case.