The events that occur behind the doors of an NFL locker room are hidden secrets to those on the outside. What happens after meetings, practices, and walkthroughs rarely reaches the clutches of the media. A team’s inner matters are usually protected by a beehive of spokespeople and public relations workers. Such circumstances make the release of the Richie Incognito and bullying case an anomaly of the NFL, and are cardinal sins for the teams responsible.
The Miami Dolphins’ hazing scandal broke wind when offensive lineman Jonathan Martin left the team on October 28th for “personal reasons.” Five days later, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that the team and the league were investigating the matter. The fact that Martin left the team mid-season suggests that the Dolphins failed to meet Martin’s emotional needs and address the matter as a team. Based on recent reporting, it is clear that the locker room was split between supporting Martin or Incognito. “It’s a matter of who’s willing to tell the truth,” an NFL analyst said.
The news only gets worse. It has been reported that Martin spoke to General Manager Jeff Ireland, who told him to “punch” Incognito and retaliate. Obviously, this is not something that a team official should advise any player to do, no matter the situation. The Dolphins leaders—whether they be players, coaches, or team officials—clearly failed to counsel Martin and quell the situation privately. “I think the General Manager will get fired.” The analyst predicted. Having hovered around mediocrity after an offseason in which Ireland spent millions on player signings, the Dolphins have no choice but to drop the guillotine, especially after this disaster. ” There are two mitigating factors: the failure of the free agents he signed, and all of this information that has come out about him mishandling the bullying.”
Former Dolphins lineman Lydon Murtha told Sports Illustrated that “The coaches know everything. The coaches know who’s getting picked on and in many cases call for that player to be singled out.” If this is the case, then the burden should be encumbered by head coach Joe Philbin. Philbin, who initially asked players to “toughen up” Martin, clearly needed to approach Martin and resolve any brewing issues. Additionally, Philbin needed to vehemently confront his veterans and extinguish the excessive hazing that was taking place. “Philibin clearly didn’t understand his own players.” The us analyst said.
In response, the NFL needs to take serious action, especially with the rampant plague of bullying in today’s news. “I think anti-bullying rules will have to be put in place, and contracts will be voided if bullying occurs” the analyst acknowledged. The most popular sports league in America must act to keep its reputation standing.
Photo: Sportstalk Florida