The Miami Dolphins “locker room culture” is no laughing matter. It should be taken quite seriously in fact. The insidious method of disguising this whole incident under the guise of some sociological mask is an attempt to downplay a viscous bullying culture that is out of control. The rhetoric and actions of these professional football players borderlines verbal assault and mental torment, the type that would be inexcusable in any other situation. The threats of physical violence and racial slurs from Miami Dolphins team member Richie Incognito directed at now former Miami Dolphins team member Jonathon Martin is not only unacceptable, but downright inhumane.
The incident of Jonathon Martin’s resignation is a part of Martin’s public protest of the Miami dolphins locker room culture and the often inadvertant consequences such bullying tactics can produce.
Unfortunately for Jonathon Martin, most in the NFL don’t see this type of behavior as an issue, instead attacking Jonathon Martin for his refusal to endure the verbal tongue lashings and threats of physical violence. Various statements from several members of the Miami Dolphins condone this sort of behavior, with Richie Incognito even rationalizing the use of the n-word.
“It’s thrown around a lot,” said Incognito to Fox Sports. Incognito went to say even Jonathon Martin used to the word often, and while saying it on a recorded voice mail to Martin may not have been the smartest idea, nonetheless the word is commonplace in the Miami Dolphin’s locker room.
Unfortunately for most Americans who hold a 9-5 job, such behavior would not only get them fired, it would have them in court before a judge on racial discrimination charges.
Fortunately for the pro athlete Richie Incognito, no charges have been made yet, pending a full investigation into the incident.
What we should remember is that there is a fine line between teasing and full on harassment. Jon Stewart and his “Best f#@$ing news team on television” on Thursday night’s episode of the Daily Show expressed this point of view aptly by addressing the appropriate means of bothering a work collegue.
Amongst the acceptable forms of horseplay according to the Daily Show- indirect sexual comments about one’s loved ones, such as their mother or sister. Included were also sarcastic or condescending remarks about one’s fashion. Nowhere in their acceptable means of fooling around was racial slurs or physical violence appropriate.
Of course the world of an NFL player is much different than the world of your average professional. Still, is there no line to draw when it comes to the words we use against one another, even if its intended to be taken as a joke? If it were such a joke, why did Jonathon Martin abruptly resign from the Miami Dolphins like he did? I’m sure he didn’t find this whole thing a laughing matter.
Ironically enough, those Miami Dolphin’s players who are amongst the most vocal of Incognito supporters- Mike Wallace, Brent Grimes, Michael Egnew and Mike Wallace- are African American. It truly is unfortunate that the majority of the Miami Dolphins are standing by Richie Incognito despite his transgressions against his former teammate.
I know for a fact that if you, or I, or anyone for that matter, were to toss around the n-word with their African American friends, no matter how friendly the relations, the racial connotation would eventually prove to be too much to bear.
It seems as though for Jonathon Martin, his idea of “locker room culture” was pushed too far by the erratic Richie Incognito. Simply put, a “locker room culture” is no excuse Miami Dolphins.
by John Amaruso