Sports Briefs: Bully on the Dolphins

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Joe: I think the reports of Miami Dolphins OL Richie Incognito bullying teammate Jonathan Martin illustrates an ongoing problem in the NFL, maybe other sports as well. The NFL has a history of extreme hazing of rookies, i.e., Cam Cleeland of the Saints nearly lost an eye when he had to run the gauntlet with his head covered with a pillowcase as teammates swing objects at him. He was hit in the eye with a sock full of quarters, nearly losing his eyesight. Initiation is one thing; assault, racial slurs or extreme financial costs is out of hand.

Brad: I think if the reports are true and Incognito was actually bullying him, then he should probably be fired. There is so much bullying in our country and so much tragedy from it that people in the public eye should definitely not be engaging in that behavior.

Ralphie: If the story is true, it's really sad. Nobody should be bullied.

Chris: Flipper would never tolerate being bullied. Neither would Miami’s mascot, T.D., or any of the dolphins at Sea World. Jonathan Martin needs to learn the art of tattletaling.

Joe: I believe Martin should have taken some action before it felt it necessary to leave the team. This is the starting left guard, for crying out loud. What were the other players thinking? The locker room should have never let this go this far. The veterans are to blame, Incognito is to blame, owners and trainers are to blame, and Martin should have defended himself and the team, rather than walking away. The Dolphins blew it all around.

Ralphie: Martin should have stuck up for himself before now. He's a big guy. He should be able to take care of himself. I think he put up with it for too long.

Brad: Yes, I think he should have stuck up for himself, but not to the point where things get physical. Being physical is never the answer to bullying. Kids are told to tell a trusted adult, but when you're an adult and it's happening, you should talk to a supervisor or in this case a coach. I don't think Martin is responsible for tolerating it. Maybe he felt he had no choice but to tolerate it, since he was a rookie.

Joe: If I were being forced to pay $15 - 30K for multiple social outings, I would tell them I have paid my share, now move on to someone else or I will not be participating. I would furthermore inform team management.

Chris: Having been accused of being a tattletale on more than one occasion, I would gladly have snitched on, ratted on, narked on, thrown Incognito under the bus or acted as if I was a whistleblower or stool pigeon. I may have even hung him out to dry.

Brad: I would tell the coaches and try to avoid being where that situation could occur. If someone has a problem with me or is bullying me, I would not put myself where I would be alone with that person. That is one way to prevent it from happening.

Ralphie: I'd probably just put up with it for awhile, but eventually, I'd talk to my coach about it. I hope we could talk with the bully together after that.

Chris: I never told on my friends, but if I didn't like someone and saw them doing something they shouldn't, then I used the fastest mode of transportation I could to alert the authorities of said unscrupulous behavior. This behavior caused me to be voted “Least Popular” in school.

Joe: Incognito should be placed on administrative leave (or NFL equivalent) and a thorough league investigation conducted. If the facts support what appears to be unacceptable behavior, he should dismissed from the team. If he has violated laws, he should be prosecuted. If another team wants to take a chance on him, so be it.

Brad: I think he should definitely be suspended while they figure out the extent of the bullying. If it involves any sort of racism, he should be fired and not allowed to play again. Attending some kind of counseling would probably help him not repeat this kind of thing. This could be viewed as a hate crime.

Ralphie: I think, if they prove that he did bully Martin, he shouldn't be allowed to play anymore because he might do this to somebody else.

Chris: Oftentimes, those in authority are just as guilty for allowing actions to happen as those committing the actions themselves. This may have been a quote on an inspirational poster hanging inside the Dolphins’ locker room.

Joe: I think the coach must have his head in the sand if his starting left tackle and guard are in this serious of an off the field feud and he is not aware of it. This is the epitome of non-teamwork.

Ralphie: If the coach didn't know anything about it, there's nothing he could do to stop it. I heard on TV this morning, though, that he told Incognito to do what he did to Martin to "toughen him up." If that's true, I think the coach should have some serious consequences.

Brad: To a point, yes. In any workplace, the boss is in charge of the employees and is supposed to handle issues. If they ignored it or swept it under the rug, then they should be disciplined as well.

Chris: Though reports suggest Incognito's treatment of Martin was entirely unsavory and not fit for those with manners, I will attempt to take up for Martin and make fun of Incognito now. What kind of a name is Incognito? What will Richie name his children? John Doe? Puddin' Tame? Richie's right arm is an example of what happens when one falls asleep in a tattoo parlor. If Richie Rich is going to extort money from a teammate, it is best to use it on something other than bubble bath and loofahs.

Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.

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