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Martin’s absence brings unwanted attention to Dolphins

Just as the Miami Dolphin season seemed to be taking a turn for the better, it looks to have taken a sharp turn for the worst. Or at least the embarrassing.

When news broke last week that offensive lineman Jonathan Martin had left the team due to emotional distress brought on by “bullying”, it brought about unwanted attention to a team that was on a four game losing streak and trying to bounce back. They had a short week, having lost to the New England Patriots on Sunday and hosting the hot Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.

Reports began to surface about a cafeteria incident that made Martin so upset that he left the team facility, not to be heard from for a few hours. Additional reports about an unhappy locker room and discontent with coaches just added fuel to the fire.

Martin is away from the team indefinitely.

Martin is away from the team indefinitely.

Martin did not play in Thursday nights game in which the Dolphins went on to beat the Bengals, a victory the team sorely needed to take away from the distractions of his absence.

However a Miami Herald report saying that Dolphin rookies have been forced to pay for dinners, trips and night club expenses has brought on an independent inquiry on the team by the NFL. With that comes more scrutiny of the team and coach Joe Philbin’s tenure.

Richie Incognito, a team mate of Martin, has been named as the “ringleader” of the harassment of Martin. The report says that “Incognito pressured Martin into paying $15,000 for an unofficial team vacation to Las Vegas — a trip that Martin, an offensive tackle, didn’t even join.”

Richie Incognito is supposedly the ringleader in the "bullying" of Martin.

Richie Incognito is supposedly the ringleader in the “bullying” of Martin. He’s been suspended pending an investigation.

Money passing hands int the NFL is hardly unprecedented. Rookie hazing happens every year and all the time. However this case is suspicious because, the alleged victim isn’t a rookie. He’s a second year vet who one would think is a little more strong willed.
On our radio show and throughout social media, cries of “man up”, “stop being soft” and “this is football!!” were aimed at Martin.  While it’s understood that fan is short for fanatic, how can we as a society hear that a person is allegedly being bullied or harassed at the workplace, but feel like we can excuse it because it’s happening in a “grown man sport” that is very violent? The last time I checked, football players had emotions like us normal folks do to.

They cry in wins and losses. They get frustrated when they are not involved in play. They can even get envious when they aren’t getting enough money, attention or fame. Do we just automatically rule out the thinking part because of the violence of the game?

The NFL is a billion dollar industry. Not only do they make sure a person is physically fit to play the sport, but they check to see if one is mentally up for it as well. If Martin’s emotional state was is in anyway supported by what team mate(s) did to him on the team, then the Dolphins and the NFL should be held responsible.

Here’s an opportunity for the NFL to send a message to todays youth about the dangers of bullying and/or hazing, and not having any more instances like Martin happening again.


About Ed

Ed is one half of the Sports Brothers. He has been in the radio industry for 14 years working in several formats including urban and talk. Upon returning to Miami in 2006 and working at WTPS, he and Jeff Fox were paired up and started The Sports Brothers.