Are The Dolphins Flipping Out, or Just Playing Football?

Photo credit: http://nfl.si.com via Mike Ehrmann

Photo credit: http://nfl.si.com via Mike Ehrmann

I’m kind of conflicted about the current controversy happening between Miami Dolphin players Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.

I grew up with guys. And guys razz each other to show love and friendship. I’m not a fan of bullying by any means but in my family, if you’re not giving each other a ration of crap, it’s because you’re mad or you don’t like each other.

I’ve been watching the Miami Dolphins’ scandal unfold and I’m eager to find out whether this is just a bunch of high testosterone guys giving each other a ration of crap or bullying. I honestly don’t know.

A few different takes on the situation:

~ Dolphins coaches asked Incognito to toughen up Martin.

~ Dolphins fire back at Martin, defend Incognito.

~ What defines a ‘Real Man’ in Sports?

I’m a baseball and basketball fan much more than I am a football fan. Yes, yes…there’s pathos and drama and talent in football, but at its heart it is a brutal sport.

Tons of people see football like this:

Athletes being paid tons of money to go out and assault other athletes in front of millions.

Like any group, some of the NFL athletes are despicable and some are honorable. And the despicable will always get more coverage.

My Hubby played twelve years of football, some of them on Division 1 teams, and his take is that “football players razz and harass each other to get fired up to go hit the other team.” My uncle’s view: “Arresting football players for harassing each other is like giving a speeding ticket at the Indy 500.

But what if Incognito actually hazed Martin? That’s not cool. In a time where bullying is approaching epidemic proportions in our schools, we all need to be vigilant in preventing it. Before social media, you could run home and hide in your house. Now bullying follows our kids home via texting and Facebook. It’s hideous.

So, as I do with most things, I’m turning this over to all of you.

Is this hazing or over-testosteroned males giving each other a ration of crap? Is it fair to hire people to tear each other’s heads off on the field and then expect them to behave differently off the field? Do you think, in the midst of so many controversies, that football will remain the most popular sport in America? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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19 Responses to Are The Dolphins Flipping Out, or Just Playing Football?

  1. Incognito is the stereotype of “overly aggressive stupid football jock bully.” As with all bullies, I would love to see someone his size (notice he’s significantly bigger than Martin despite both being OLs) punch him right in the mouth and kick his ass. Then we’ll see how much of a big man he is.

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  2. Jenny Hansen says:

    You go, Steve! I want all the opinions out there – good, bad, up, down.

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  3. Michael says:

    I’m like you, Jenny; I’m waiting for the rest of the story.

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  4. Incognito’s past is his biggest problem. If other players on the team, particularly minority players, say he isn’t a racist, then that’s fine, I can get on board with that. I do think he’s a bully though. He is one of those men who is short tempered and quick to fight because he hasn’t the mental acuity to do anything otherwise. I remember in 2006 when he couldn’t shut his mouth while wearing a Detroit Tigers jersey in St.Louis to a World Series baseball game. He was mouthing off every which way just begging for some drunk to pick a fight with him. He was talented but fell in the draft because there was obviously something wrong with him mentally. Martin, on the other hand, seems too soft mentally to play professional football. It’s a tough job and you have to have thicker skin than he appears to have. At the end of the day though, it’s a workplace and there have to be rules. I was a part of hazing in college and I DETESTED it passionately. Fun razzing is one thing, but when it gets out of hand, it’s too much.

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  5. From “Steve, Extension 128″: As with all bullies, I would love to see someone his size (notice he’s significantly bigger than Martin despite both being OLs)…

    I call B.S.

    Richie Incognito – 6’3″, 319 Lbs.
    Jonathan Martin – 6’5”, 312 Lbs.

    Two of their teammates have come forward to say that Martin & Incognito were “best friends”. Other players are saying other stuff. I guess we’ll see even more stuff said.

    Rather than re-type most of what Don said, I’ll refer you to his comment as to how I feel about the situation as it now stands.

    I have more to say but it’s best if I zip my lip for the time being.

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  6. filbio says:

    I am still waiting to see how all this unfolds. He does have the image of a meathead, and NFL 2009: Was named “NFL’s dirtiest player” in a Sporting News poll of 99 players.

    Still, Martin is a grown man and should have just punched this guy in the mouth and told him to back off. That’s how I handled bullies back in the day.

    It will be interesting how the Dolphins and the NFL handles this mess.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’m with you on the “Jon Martin needs to step up a bit” stance. Even if he went to his coach, or at least his union rep, that’s completely appropriate. I’m not sure why he would have walked off the job and I suspect a lot more will come out from both sides on this.

      But what happened to the day when you handle issues, rather than running straight to a lawyer?

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  7. Maggie O'C says:

    I just started reading about this last night and of course, turned to Don for his take on it. I think he’s spot on but I also go with filbio….Martin, man up and clock him if you don’t like it. If you’re that sensitive, I don’t think the NFL is for you.

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  8. tomwisk says:

    Hi Jenny, I was never a jock and was never part of the fraternity. I did have a bully though, from 10th grade into adulthood. He never was malicious, just nasty. The upside is I’ve outlived him. As to the NFL problem: “Toughening up” does not include racial slurs, threats to mothers and general psychological torture. Incognito is an overpaid thug. The sport has always had “bad” players and we cheered them on because we weren’t taking the shots physically. I don’t want to see tutus and ballet slippers but the players should recognize that they are role models for kids playing the sport in school. Imagine a parent finding out his son is tormenting a classmate or fellow player, isn’t that something to be proud of and something to a to college applications. As for Martin, he made the cardinal mistake in the jock society, he displayed weakness. Rather than sucking it up and becoming as bad as Incognito.

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    • I’m with Tom on this. Those Internet messages were over-the-top on cyber-bullying.

      Athletes are, sadly, more of a role model for our young people than the people who truly deserve that attention — their own teachers and coaches.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I don’t think ANY of these threats were appropriate. I’m waiting to see whether Martin went to anyone in a higher position of power because I think he should have. It seems to me that Incognito is a bad seed who needs to be disciplined severely.

      All that being said, I don’t get just walking off a job and going to a lawyer. I’m hoping that the story comes out soon and that those things were tried first. Martin seems like a nice guy.

      I’m a huge opponent of litigation before discussion, which is why I’m following this one. I’d hate to see that precedent get set in sports.

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  9. I guess like with everything else, there should always be a balance. It comes from the top. If that is the environment the management sets up, the players will follow. There is a fine line and the “bully” usually knows if he/she has crossed it.

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  10. I’m late to the comment party. Whacky week. Seriously. Even in my whack-a-bauble world.

    But, it gave me the benefit of reading comments before I posted my own.

    I came into this post with the mindset that the Dolphins did the right thing when they suspended Incognito for inappropriate and aggressive behavior. You swayed me a smidge, but comments brought me back to point.

    When are threats to kill someone considered okay? Racial slurs? He has a rep as the NFL’s dirtiest player (filbio). He’s displayed disgusting, aggressive behavior at other sporting events that had nothing to do with “firing the guys up” so they’ll fight for the win (donofalltrades).

    Martin? He tattled. OMG! The sin of all sins among kids (especially The Sisterhood) when I grew up.

    Sure. His alternative might have been to call Incognito out on it, “man up” and…

    get the living chit beat out of him (Steve’s observation on Incognito’s size versus Martin’s).

    A rookie challenging a veteran player. in the “man up” way? (Incognito hid behind a winky-dink iPhone or iPad to conduct his assault.) How would he justify his aggressive behavior? The very cyber bullying messages brought to light before the fight. No win either way, and some potentially serious injuries as a result of that strategy.

    It was a hostile work environment. Period.

    His talent on the field should decide whether or not he belongs in the locker room wearing a jersey. It should not (IMHO) be based on the Neanderthal thinking that football is a tough sport, so anything goes on and off the field.

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    • Now, hand me a beer. I’m busy scratching my hangy-downs.😀

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Girl, you deserve a beer! That was a fine comment, and I’ll bet them hangy-downs are now itching.🙂

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      • What I did not know [inserting duh! so I can use more HTML code you don’t have to]…

        I did not know Martin lawyered up. I try to watch as little news as possible. Now, I get to point back to brickhousechick’s comment about the environment management (at the Dolphins, or with this sport in general) has established.

        Were I in the same situation, I’m not sure I’d risk escalating Incognito’s ire by bringing him up for review with management. What if they chose reprimand versus suspension?

        Incognito == interesting the word is defined as someone operating undercover or in disguise. I point back to him hiding behind winky-dink iPhones or iPads for his assaults. Who didn’t truly “man up” in this scenario?

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  11. Like Gloria, I’m a little late to this party…but living in Florida (and with a man who is a sportaholic) I’ve been hearing a lot about this whole thing.

    I think everyone agrees, Incognito has anger management issues and no self control. So here’s my problem… How does management go to a guy who got kicked out of one college and 2 NFL teams for his “behavioral” issues and ask HIM to “toughen up” a guy like Martin? Furthermore, if they were going to go to this guy, knowing his issues, does it make sense not to give him parameters, guidelines or a gameplan? Nevermind that they never followed up with him or Martin…. Heck, like Don mentioned, he fell in the draft because of his “character issues”.

    Having said that, maybe Martin needs to toughen up…but is the right answer for him to confront Incognito and “punch him in the mouth” like so many people seem to think? Let’s look at the NFL and the history of off the field violence escalations for a moment… We’ve got one player on trial for murder (possibly multiple). The initial story with that one was that the guy he killed was talking to people he didn’t like. Really? What about Chad Johnson? Married only a few weeks and hit his new bride causing him to be charged, lose his NFL career and wind up in jail. Do we even want to mention OJ?

    In fact, if it was the coaches who sicced Incognito on Martin in the first place and based on teammates reactions, I’d say Martin wasn’t necessarily wrong to walk away and admit himself into a hospital. Think about it. He knew there was a good chance he could lose his NFL career over it, but was willing to risk it anyway. How bad must it be for someone to do that?

    Don’t get me wrong, I know SOME hazing happens. As a tomboy and military brat, I’ve been around guys and sports. What I’ve noticed about this situation is that it didn’t seem to be happening to ALL the rookies. He was being singled out. In the military, recruits are “toughened up”, too…but the whole group is yelled at, put through physical challenges, etc. And after reading the text message sent to him about his sister, it doesn’t appear Incognito was the only one who might have been involved. He just may have been leading the charge.

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