Travis West | Managing Editor
In sports, a locker room is a place of bonding.
A brotherhood is built through blood, sweat and tears that come from enduring hours of grueling conditioning on the field.
The Miami Dolphin’s locker room lost something on Oct. 28 when offensive lineman Jonathan Martin left the organization after an incident during the team’s lunch that proved to be the final straw.
Martin has accused his teammate Richie Incognito of “bullying” him.
Since Martin left, the Dolphins have suspended Incognito indefinitely, leaving a helpless team scrambling to fill spots.
Martin’s abrupt absence comes in the wake of a voice message from Incognito.
The message from Incognito to Martin…
“Hey, wassup, you half n—– piece of (expletive) . . . I saw you on Twitter, you been training ten weeks. (I want to) (expletive) in your (expletive) mouth. (I’m going to) slap your (expletive) mouth. (I’m going to) slap your real mother across the face (laughter). (Expletive) you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”
Although Incognito may seem like the bad guy in this situation, it may not be that clear.
Martin also sent Incognito an Internet meme of a woman holding a puppy with a caption saying, “I will murder your whole (expletive) family.”
Many rookies in all professional sports deal with some type of hazing or rite of passage.
Veterans take it upon themselves to introduce rookies to the professional ranks.
Every year, rookies are greeted with four figure meal tabs, handfuls of equipment to carry and the occasional humiliation of being taped to the goal post.
It most cases, it is all in good spirit and fun, however, when is the lined crossed?
We all have a limit to have much we can take until we fight back and it appears Martin reached his limit.
Once his rookie year was over, Martin was under the impression that his second year would be different, and when he found out that it was going to be more of the same, he broke down.
Incognito has had a reputation of being a troublemaker in the past and has been voted as the dirtiest player in the NFL by his peers in the past.
Martin has moved back to Southern California with his family where his is receiving counseling, while Incognito awaits his inevitable suspension.
Both players are out of a job and an organization is under scrutiny. This has no place in any work place.
Martin is a second year player and Incognito is in his eighth year.
It is clear that Incognito used to his seniority to bully Martin, and while Martin should have stood up for himself, someone else should have as well.
As a young man, Martin wanted to earn the respect of his peers.
Martin’s eagerness to fit in may have been misconstrued as weakness by Incognito.
There is much to still be sorted out in this tangled mess. But I think we can all agree that there is no place for any belittling in the workplace.
The NFL has told Miami Dolphin owner Stephen Ross to hold off on his meeting with Martin until an investigation is done.
Outside of the traditional hazing, players need to know that the man they are fighting next to is also the man that will pick him up when he falls.