Monday, 31 March 2014

Quick Thoughts on Jonathan Martin & Richie Incognito

I've been short of time this month, but I just wanted to post some quick thoughts on Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito affair, and the effect of it upon my favourite NFL team, the Miami Dolphins. For anyone unfamiliar with the story, Martin left the team in mid-season because of alleged bullying, led by Incognito. Firstly, and most importantly, when Dolphins veteran John Denney was asked for his opinion on the Wells report, he stated, "Ted Wells can go into any one of the 32 teams in the entire league and he's going to come out with the same investigation, same results." I think this is really important to state. I have read countless articles over the years which have praised the standards and setup of the Pittsburgh Steelers, so why did former Steeler and Dolphin of a mere few months Mike Wallace come to the defence of Incognito? Because I suspect the kind of hazing/teasing/pranks that took place are standard across the league. Does this make Incognito innocent in all the proceedings? Clearly not, and actions such as seeking to burn the fine book detailed in the Wells Report show that (and obviously the repeated use of racist terms is unacceptable). In my opinion though, that shows someone who has been pampered to due to his athletic ability, throughout his life, and has never been disciplined or told in any form that such behaviour is wrong. Now don't get me wrong, boys will be boys. Jonathan Martin complained about comments about his sister. Workmates of mine have seen pictures of my sister and made comments, and while they have not been to the same extremes, they haven't always been tasteful either. Have I complained? No, because such chat goes on between guys, and I know they're not being serious. As I've mentioned before, I moved around a fair bit through my childhood, and this led to some difficult times being the new kid at various schools. Do you know when the bullying stopped? When I stopped showing that it bothered me. Sometimes you have to make a change yourself, however difficult that may be, however unjust it may seem that you have to be the one to make a change first. Additionally, the way both the initial affair and subsequent report were detailed in the media were not balanced. Did anyone report that Martin, for whatever reason he deemed correct, talk about women in the same way as Incognito? Did anyone mention that in his lowest times Martin admitted to being an abuser of alcohol and controlled substances? No, because they didn't suit the narrative. Incognito, the guy with trouble in his past, Martin from a family of Harvard graduates, who himself attended highly regarded Stanford. To be clear, I don't think that either Incognito or the Dolphins have behaved perfectly in this whole affair. Indeed, I think it is the latest in a long line of public relations disasters under the ownership of Stephen Ross, and Incognito has more than enough on his record to show he is a less than stellar character (although on the evidence of his damaging his own sports car with a baseball bat, I also suspect mental health issues). However I don't think Jonathan Martin's move to San Francisco will be the last time we hear of him being involved in some form of controversy. For his sake, I hope I'm wrong.