Join Date: Mar 2005
Re: T Johnathan Martin headed for NFI list, may never return to the Dolphins
Great article on ESPN
Beneath the disgusting details of threats and taunts and racism lies an uncomfortable truth: The NFL needs Richie Incognito more than it needs Jonathan Martin.
Coaches love players like Incognito. They look at guys like Martin, known as soft-spoken and thoughtful while at Stanford, with skepticism. Does he have the killer instinct? Does he care enough? Those questions don't apply to Incognito. Coaches might not want to see him after hours, but they love him on the field. He's indispensable, a tone-setter, the guy who announces your team's presence with a crazed, through-the-whistle style that is prized at every level.
Coaches chuckle among themselves: He might be a horrible human being, but he's our horrible human being. Sociopathic behavior from players at certain positions is not only tolerated but cherished. As long as it stays out of the headlines and the police blotters -- in other words, as long as it's kept in-house -- it provides the kind of toughness you need to compete.
Yes, this is America's game.
Own it. Even now, even after the extent of Incognito's viciousness has been revealed through voice mails and texts to Martin, there are NFL personnel people telling reporters, like Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter, that it's a man's game and Martin failed to handle it like a man. According to these unnamed men, Martin should have manned up and handled the situation face-to-face, with his fists if necessary.
You know -- like a man.
Seriously, though, did these men's men read the things Incognito reportedly said to Martin? Don't we encourage people not to deal with the deranged, to let the professionals handle it? Does anyone believe Incognito would be cowed by a confrontation?
To blame Martin is to ignore reality and uphold the twisted norms of the misguided subculture that allowed this type of environment to persist and -- dare we say -- thrive. It's also a willful refusal to connect the threat of violence to the reality of our gun-soaked, disrespect-me-and-pay-the-price ethos that has people like Aaron Hernandez sitting in jail.
Martin should be praised for walking away and letting the Dolphins sit amid the fetid steam of Incognito's behavior. Speaking of Martin, Bart Scott told Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco on ESPN New York, "Thank God he walked away. They've got to be thankful he didn't bring a gun to work."
It's soul-crushing to see how many situations in football cause people to break out the "wussification of America" card, as if being swindled and harassed and threatened is just part of the NFL workplace, the price you pay for having a job that too many American males look upon as the pinnacle of human achievement. If you can't hack having your mother threatened and your race demeaned and your well being threatened, you know, move aside for someone who can.
Drinking the kool aid