The Miami Dolphins have a bullying problem and it’s not on the field. Jonathan Martin who left the team earlier in the week was scheduled to return to the Dolphins today. That has since been delayed due to Joe Philbin giving the team today off after last nights victory.
One question now remains. How will his reception at the facility be? According to multiple reports some Dolphins are guilty of bullying. Apparently the decision to leave by Martin does not completely stem from the practical joke of leaving the lunch table telling him “we don’t want to sit with you.” There has been reports that incidents poking fun at Martin have been going on dating back to last year. As seen in the HBO series Hard Knocks, some players referred to Martin as “Big Weirdo”.
NFLPA President De’Maurice Smith has said that the Martin case is a serious issue that the NFLPA will investigate thoroughly. Smith says he will visit the facility soon to “look into” the events leading up the walk out. Smith will likely be searching for evidence that anyone NOT a player was involved as it’s very unlikely Smith would do anything to a player he represents. Smith has been pretty straight forward on his stance against the NFL for three years now.
Regardless initial indications are that the Dolphins coaches and executives are not involved but that could change later.
So how will Martin be received? According to several players including two lineman, Martin will not only be welcomed back but is wanted back. Last night Rich Eisen of NFL Network asked Cameron Wake after the game about his opinions. Wake seemed very sincere in his response saying that they are a team and that Martin is one of their brothers and that they support him 100%, want him back, and need him back. Today Joe Philbin made it very clear that bullying would not be tolerated at any level.
The next question however is where that line is drawn between good natured locker room boys being boys and understanding the difference between that kind of ribbing and bullying. Has Martin overreacted? Have his teammates gone too far? What happens when he lines up against a mouthy DE who talks smack? Martin posted a message on Facebook yesterday wishing everyone a happy Halloween and cautioning everyone not believe everything you read.
What is for sure is that barring a change of heart, Martin should return to the team soon and the Dolphins have ten days before their next game. A Monday night game against in-state rival and winless Tampa Bay.