Richie Incognito’s bullying of Jonathan Martin has brought the attention of the public to start questioning locker room behavior. An independent report done to investigate the bullying in the Miami Dolphins clubhouse was released on Friday that found that Incognito was responsible for the excessive bullying of Martin.
Incognito was eagerly awaiting the report to come out so that it would show that Jonathan Martin was also at fault, but it did not put Martin at any fault, only him. The Miami Dolphins’ locker room behavior was notoriously negative, and Richie Incognito was a big part of this reason. According to the report Incognito relentlessly bullied and tormented Martin with harassment that included racial slurs,
Sportswriter, Dan Le Batard, recently brought the public’s attention to the fact that there is basically no support for Jonathan Martin. He writes that players are supporting Richie Incognito and not Martin because no one in the Miami locker room supports what Martin has turned this into. Le Batard believes that the players have turned on Jonathan Martin because they see him as a “snitch” who is thought of as a “soft” player.
Reportedly, Incognito has the support of fellow teammates John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, as well as the support from Dolphin’s offensive line coach Jim Turner. Jerry and Pouncey were named in the report to be co-bullies with Incognito in their abuse towards Martin; Incognito was the main offender in the bullying, however.
One of the main reasons why players are supporting Richie Incognito is because he represents the classic and unwritten values of the locker room; he represents the old ways of locker rooms. The attention that the Richie Incognito bullying case has brought into the mainstream has brought up the question of locker room behavior. This highly-covered news story threatens the locker room environment, which is apparently becoming something that some players still support.
However, this is the only way that many of these players know how to behave and survive in a locker room environment. The NFL is a very tough job because somebody is always gunning for another player’s position, and a player has to fight and adapt to their given environment to survive This rough and tough locker room environment that these men have likely experienced their whole lives has likely involved an unprecedented amount of bullying, teasing, roughhousing. Former NBA star, Charles Barkley, admits that he sometimes misses the “racist, homophobic, and sexist” ways of the locker room.
But just because there is a tradition of free-for-all locker room environments, which many of these players are accustomed to and defensive over, does not mean it should not change. Richie Incognito went way too far in his aggressive bullying of Martin because it was relentless, pointless, and overly harsh. Jonathan Martin did the right thing in honestly explaining his horrible treatment with bullies, and because of him, locker room behavior will be way more monitored and controlled in the future. Martin was reportedly contemplating suicide because his harassment was so harsh, so restructuring the locker room environment is not a bad thing if it could possibly save a life.
Behavior in the locker room will be heavily debated and closely watched because of the questions that the Richie Incognito bullying case brought up. But it can positively evolve for the better. Yes, some locker rooms are fine, but the Miami Dolphins’ locker room was out of control and something had to happen.
Editorial by Glen Parris