Oct 20, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin (71) walks off the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

What About Jonathan Martin?

Last night the Miami Dolphins opted to suspend indefinitely OG Richie Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team.  They do this before the NFL launches an investigation that was requested by the team.  Incognito’s suspension brings serious doubts to his “Twitter” rampage demanding his name cleared.  Making matters worse?  Incognito is a member of this years “leadership council”.  Say “Whaat!”

The problem is Incognito is not the victim here.  Jonathan Martin is and while the media, including CBS morning show are talking more about the “hazing” issues and Incognito rather than what has happened with Martin.

Originally Martin was called out by fans and by media for leaving the team.  Some saying he couldn’t take it, some saying he was soft, other saying he had a mental issue.  Then word began to leak of harassment and suddenly it was “NFL locker room” stuff and again, Martin couldn’t handle it.

Even now the focus is on Incognito and what other players may be involved instead of what this may have done to Martin.

Consider Martin’s play on the field.  How far did the harassing go?  Did it extend to the field?  What about before the game.  Did the harassment in the locker room at the training facility keep Martin from focusing on his job?  The short answer would most likely be yes.

A stressful work place makes it hard to concentrate and for Martin the stress of spending all day hours upon hours with the very men causing him a personal hell would make any player not want to be there.  In fact it would make it almost impossible to mentally process the game plan.

So far it has shown.  Early in the season Martin struggled with both run and pass protection and there was no question that he and Incognito seemed disconnected often taking the wrong man.  Could this have been a result of the harassment?  It’s hard to say but you have to wonder if Martin’s regression is related to lining up next to a player who spends too much time in Martin’s face.

The next question of culpability is coaching.  Jim Turner is the Oline coach and we have all seen from HBO’s Hard Knocks that he is brash, in your face, and a coach ready to roll with the locker room antics.  At one point during the season he was seen telling a young Pop-Warner football player that the cheerleaders were totally checking him out.  He was later seen talking about “desks rising” after the team watched a cheerleader video.

Did he know about the harassment going on within his own unit?  If so he apparently did nothing to stop it and if he didn’t then he doesn’t have the trust of his players to come to him with such a problem.  The next question is did he bother to go to Joe Philbin if in fact he did know?  If he did the problem is much deeper and if he didn’t and knew then he should be fired.

This will likely come out in the weeks ahead but you still have to wonder when or even if Martin can return to a team that has become a side show the last two weeks.  A poster child of NFL hazing rituals and rookie abuse.

Martin needs to get his mind right and whether he returns to the team or not is a matter of choice but the Dolphins need to make him feel as though he can and the suspension of Incognito may be the first step but it may not be enough.

Next Dolphins Game View full schedule »
Thursday, Aug 2828 Aug7:00St. Louis RamsBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Jim Turner Jonathan Martin Miami Dolphins Richie Incognito

  • Mitch

    Further proof of the pussification of our culture. Most of these idiots crying he was bullied have never been in a locker room or the military.

    And Martin should be suspended too. and then as soon as teams are able to trade players again, move him to the girls league and provide him some Mydol and years supply of tampons. He’s a weak-minded j@ckass….

    • gofins60

      There is no comparison between the military and a locker room! The military trains for life and death matters, while football is just a GAME. Bullying is a tool of juvenile delinquents (young or old) to make them feel superior, and has no place in a civilized society… not even in the military. A US soldier should be a model citizen willing to lay down his life for Good (and not the profits of Big Business, which is another story). A soldier should model himself after the Samurai and protect the weak and innocent; not hurt them like some punk gang-banger.

      Football is just a game full of too many macho-type punks who pretend that they’re soldiers going off to war. Football as a SPORT is practiced by youth, and hopefully they learn good sportsmanship, fair play, and to always do their best. Football in the NFL is, sadly, part of the Entertainment Industry, and in Big Business money trumps everything else. Because it’s entertainment and not a true sport, then Mitch, you are correct with your views. The NFL wants macho-types to play their “game”, because the league wants to be today’s version of the Roman Coliseum and its bloodbaths. It’s a “civilized” way for the masses to get their fill of bloodlust… and that’s okay. But, don’t get carried away with it as there are still rules, and the league at least half-heartedly tries to appear to be fair, so I hope that hazing and the like will eventually be banned.

      Personally, I’d prefer to watch a league full of honorable Samurai battle for 60 minutes than a bunch of gang-bangers and juvenile delinquents.

      • Mitch

        I disagree with you completely…
        I don’t have the time at this moment to put the thoughts to words – work is more important. I am former military and hazing is a regular part of life there – especially when you do something like cross the equator, etc…
        I played sports as well when younger – much younger..lol – and either you are mentally tough enough to handle the stresses placed upon you or you crack like little MartinA did…
        No one finds it odd that his parents(high profile lawyers) and he saved voicemails and texts for over a year and a half??? They were setting someone up – I bet they have those things from other players than Incognito…

        • gofins60

          Mitch, I don’t want to put down your opinion on locker room vs military; I just disagree. I went through boot camp in the 70s, and there were plenty of stresses placed on me. However, I knew that it was just mind games to break me, and although they could do whatever they wanted to me physically, I didn’t let it bother me mentally. I understood the concept… they were taking kids out of school and had to turn them into soldiers who may eventually be put into life or death situations. This is a whole different ballgame than some macho posturing in a locker room.

          I do stand by my view that in sports, hazing is just a case of macho guys exerting their dominance over others. Personally, I feel that you’re more of a man by standing up to them. I would never pay for a veteran’s dinner, or carry his gear, or let them give me a silly haircut. Playing along with their stupid little games means that you’re a sheep following the herd… I’d rather be my own man. You can be an individual and still be a member of the team at practice and on game day as long as you do your job. If the others can’t respect that, screw them. I do feel that joking around and good-natured pranks are good for a team, but hazing is bad.

          That said, after reading some new stories, there is a strong possibility that Martin just couldn’t hack it due to personal “issues”. I also agree with you that there is a very good chance that his parents are behind this whole situation for one of two reasons: to collect a big settlement, or to place the blame for their son’s problems/issues elsewhere, thereby salvaging their upper-crust elite reputation. The messages from Incognito could very well be “workplace joking around” which may appear offensive to an outsider. I’m very familiar with this type of talk from the military and over 20 years of Corrections experience. A smart lawyer (Martin’s parents) could easily use these messages as evidence of harassment by using them out of context. (They probably saved them hoping for a chance to use them!) They could also manipulate a kid with mental issues into thinking that someone else is responsible for his problems. I think that this situation has become much more than a “that kid picked on my kid” issue.

          So Mitch, while I may disagree with you about hazing in sports (you say it builds character, and I say that it is a sign of anti-social behavior), I do feel that there is nothing wrong with putting stress on the new guy to see if he can take it. I just think that the stress should be work-related.

  • robert roesler

    Let’s suspend every player in the league who has bullied. Oh wait, if we did that we wouldn’t have an NFL.
    I have no idea what really happened, but if Martin participate in pranks against others then he too “bullied”.
    By the current definition of “bullying” 99% of people have done this at least once.

  • SanDiego

    It just shows what kind of world we live in right now. I am not saying Incognito is not an angel in this whole thing but what’s next? Keep the PC a holes out away from sports and stop catering to their every whimper!!

  • Scott Hodges

    When this was initially reported as “bullying”, I felt that Martin needed to toughen up. But these new revelations have put it in a different context. Was the incident where the o-line stood up at dinner and refused to sit with Martin, resulting in him leaving the team, just normal hazing, or was it a response to him not wanting to write a check for $15,000 to cover a junket to Las Vegas?

    It is one thing to snap a few towels in the locker room. But expecting a second-year player (or a rookie, for that matter) to routinely pay five figures to subsidize a night of strippers and blackjack is obscene. These players make good money. But they risk life and limb for it, and their careers are short (will Martin ever play again?) and many of them end up bankrupt as it is. Asking them to pay out that kind of money as a matter of routine should not be tolerated. If that was the case, it took balls for Martin to stand up to them and refuse to pay. Don’t judge him until the facts are in.

    • Mitch

      You are aware MartinA was involved in the identical “prank” the week before when he and other O-line guys did it to someone else?

      • Scott Hodges

        I was not aware of this. That’s why I’m waiting until the facts are in.
        One fact is that one of our most promising seasons in a long time looks doomed due to poor line play. The mystery has been how the line has be so historically bad when it is stocked with pro bowlers and high draft picks. I’m starting to see the answer to that mystery.

  • txmedic5

    I played football and baseball all my life and I can say I have been hazed more times than I care to know…embarrassed as hell as I was forced to do a drill in only my jockstrap with another Fresh…making it worse it was in front of women…UGHHHH…but I laughed it off and moved on.

    I don’t care about the hazing toughen up or get out but when it turns to threats it becomes different and making matters worse to me with all of this is that Incognito is supposed to be a team leader, a member of the teams leadership council. That does not speak well of him and for that reason and the money and threats I’m kind of with Martin on this one to a small degree.

    If this had just been over hazing or because he was a soft player then I could surely stand on the side of “grow the Ef-Up”. But I think it’s far deeper than that unfortunately.

  • Jcartwright67

    It all boils down to the almighty dollar….it always does! We can all bitch and cry about Martin, Incognito, and this ludicrous situation. Martin generates $38K per game, has a $4.8M contract with almost $3M guaranteed. Folks, he filed a grievance with the NFL, he’s going to see the full value of that contract and probably more when his attorney’s claim his name and future earning potential has been tarnished. Based on the evidence we’ve seen, though taken out of context in my opinion, is very damaging to the Phins, Incognito, and the NFL. My hat’s off to the Martin’s…they played this pretty well so far. Cog is gone and so is Martin. Cog’s made a bunch of $$ during his career which in truth was winding down and Martin is now set so don’t feel bad for them. That said, I don’t see Cog going away quietly; this legal nightmare is just gaining momentum. In the end, we the fans lose. We had a poor to average line that just got worse. Personally, I don’t care anymore…its in the hands of attorneys now…I’m only interested in how we pull it together for Tampa and the remaining season. I’m still holding on to a playoff spot.