Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Men will be boys

This was the story on FOX Sports:

Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin loves playing football.
But what a source told FOX Sports was an abusive environment that developed during Martin's 1 1/2 seasons with the Dolphins led to him taking a personal leave of absence to spend time with his family.
Martin left Dolphins headquarters last Monday when finally (sic) reaching his limit with the persistent bullying and teasing from some teammates that has plagued him since joining Miami as a 2012 second-round draft choice. As first reported by FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer, the latest taunt – a group of players stood up and left when he tried joining them for lunch – led to Martin getting up himself and walking out the door.
There is no timetable for a return, which could lead Miami to ultimately place him on the reserve/non-football injury list. It also raises questions about his future with the franchise.
This wasn't an abrupt action by Martin, who is Stanford-educated and the son of two lawyers who attended Harvard University. A source said Martin has tried dealing with a slew of indignities that crossed into personal and family insults, including being bestowed with the nickname of "Big Weirdo."
Knowing his background, the 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin probably felt that challenging teammates to fistfights wasn't the answer to the situation.
It's believed the Dolphins were aware that the cruel actions of some teammates toward Martin went well beyond the customary hazing sometimes given to NFL rookies and youngsters, the source said. Martin experienced some of that when the Dolphins appeared on the 2012 season of HBO's Hard Knocks.
The Dolphins declined comment to FOX Sports about whether they were aware of the bullying issue allegedly surrounding Martin.
Veteran players also apparently failed to help support Martin and draw a line as to where the bullying should end.
OK.  First of all, I loathe bullying in all its forms, but this reminds me of that deal in Texas we talked about in which a group of parents claimed that their kids were getting bullied in a football game, when all that really happened was that they were getting the hell beaten out of them.  It's not the same, and to call it bullying diminishes and demeans the integrity of people making a claim of real bullying.

Second, these are men of considerable means playing in a multi-million dollar sports industry.  Since all this broke, the Dolphins have suspended another offensive lineman, the curiously-named Richie Incognito, for conduct detrimental to the team. One of his offensive lines was the one in which he allegedly demanded that Martin shell out 15,000 semolians so the veterans on the line could fly to Las Vegas, presumably to enjoy an evening of Celine Dion in concert.

To me, it's a real shame that we live in a society in which the truly defenseless - the 12-year old girls picked on by their peers to the point at which they see no way out short of suicide, the nerdy kids, the different ones, forced to live lives of shame and fearful hiding in school and out at the hands of their loutish schoolmates, and the members of minorities, be they racial, ethnic or religious, the world over, victimized by the some of the majority in the name of a deity - now have the yoke that surrounds their pitiable necks, the scourge of bullying, be applied as a name for some overstimulated jocks driven mad by the Miami heat and their own overindulgences. The team leaders need to step up and deal with Martin's grievances, which, legitimate as they are, are not in the same class as a scared middle schooler, any more than a dahlia is as stout against the elements as an elm tree.


KLH said...

Two things need to be done.
1. Mr Martin, win, lose or draw, should have called Incognito's bluff, and challenged him, often times bullies are big punks.

I speak from the school of hard knocks, in fifth grade, there was a gent by the name of Glenn Davis, he was a 7th grader, very tall and with a very large Afro. I don't know if the Afro means anything, but I do remember it. On this particular day, he and a few of his friends decided to cut in front of me during lunch, no problem, it was enchalada day. I don't like enchaladas. However, as bullies go it is never enough. After I sat down with my food, which included my favorite Hostess Cherry Pie, which I had two of. Glenn decided that he wanted not only my enchalada's but not one but both my pies, which he then forcibly took. Mind you I was willing to give him the one, which I did offer. Needless to say I was steaming, my two best friends Jeffery Nelson and Anthony Anderson told me in no uncertain terms that I had to do something about this or eventually he would be taking there lunches soon. I agreed, since as my Father once told me there are no rules in a fight, and since my thick fiberglass lunch try was the only thing I had left. I decided to introduce Glenn to it first hand, repeatedly. The other monitors, lunch workers and Sisters finally grabbed me. I went Sister Rose's office, explained to her what had taken place. She called my parents, I was sent home for the day, which was Friday, which was cool for me, and my good buddy Glenn received for his trouble I believe 9 stiches and was suspended for 2 weeks or ten school days. The moral of the story is: He never messed with me again or ever looked my way again. I hope and pray that 39 years later when he combs his hair that nice scar will be a reminder to him. Don't mess with my Cherry Pies.

Mark said...

Glenn learned his lesson, for sure. I like the way you point out that he gets a reinforcement of that lesson every time he goes to comb his now-thinning hair.

Karen V. Poe said...

Evidently I grew up in a different time and place. I was never bullied or called names or got into a fight as a child/adolescent/adult. I am truly mystified by this situation. The NFL has a strict policy against hazing of any type and dsginate team leaders to make sure rookies and new players are not harrassed. This is more than shameful, it is just inexplicable.