Very seldom can you trust a sentiment delivered with the prefix, “If it was me, I would’ve…” We’re all guilty of using it at one time or another, but it’s pure speculation on matters we can’t truly understand unless we’re in the midst of them. It’s a futile attempt at foreshadowing, and in the case of Miami Dolphins offensive tackle being bullied by teammate, Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, nothing more than an exercise for the jerk in you.
The bullying in question includes:
1: Richie Incognito left this VM for Jonathan Martin in April 2013: "Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of (expletive)...— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 4, 2013
2. More Incognito to Martin: "I saw you on Twitter, you been training ten weeks. (I want to) (expletive) in your (expl) mouth....— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 4, 2013
3. Incognito VM to Martin: "(I'm going to) slap your (expletive) mouth. (I'm going to) slap your real mother across the face (laughter).— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 4, 2013
Upon word that the NFL was looking into these allegations, a number of people went out of their way to paint Martin as a coward, incapable of handling his harassment “like a man.”
It’s the common theme shared by sources in Jim Trotter’s report for SI.com.
One personnel employee, speaking on the condition of anonymity said, "I think Jonathan Martin is a weak person. If Incognito did offend him racially, that's something you have to handle as a man! Mike Pouncey was a rookie at one point while Incognito was there and you never heard any complaints from him. There's no other way to put it, other than him being sofTTT!"
Another: "Guys are going to be guys, if you know what I mean. I'm sure there are some instances of 'taking things too far,' but that happens everywhere. You handle it in house -- fight, handle it on the field, joke about it, etc -- and keep it moving."
One more: "I might get my ass kicked, but I'm going to go down swinging if that happens to me, I can tell you that."
Even nastier: "Locker room culture will never be understood unless you've lived or have been around it," said a personnel man. "This is another ploy in the league's 'player safety' book. Incognito knew who to try. You never heard anything like this come from John Jerry or Mike Pouncey. Instead of being a man and confronting him, he acted like a coward and told like a kid."
Such tough talk from people not willing to let their names stand beside their words.
As my fellow Bison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, put it: “Calling for others to endure pain in one breath, while you duck it in the next is a particularly loathsome form of cowardice.”
For the record, Incognito is a longtime jerk – known for spitting on fellow players in college, swinging at opponents and fighting with teammates. Naturally, as a child he was “tormented by the other kids” by way of being called "fatass," "lardass" or "whale." He never stood for himself until teachers told his dad about it who in turn told his son “you can’t let them keep doing it.”
No, but you also shouldn’t repeat their mistakes either. That lesson should’ve been instilled in Richie, but then again, look at the teacher. Bully Sr. is suspected to be behind several racially charged statements on a message board. Statements like Martin and Mike Pouncey are "[Black] brothers that do drugs on a regular basis." Again, tough talk from the secure spot that is anonymity.
Clearly Richie was steered wrong. To wit, Seth Bendian, a baseball coach who worked with Richie has a child, told ESPN in 2012, "I think fighting was distasteful for Richie. But he realized that if you want a kid off your back, you have to beat the crap out of him."
Was I taught to stand up for myself? Yes. Did that include fighting if necessary? Sure. Have I fought people who messed with me one time too many? Definitely. Did I always? No. Does that make me a coward?
To fault Jonathan Martin in this way lets Richie Incognito off the hook.
He doesn’t need to be babied, but he also doesn’t need his manhood taken away from him either. To question his mental toughness is senseless, not to mention utterly pathetic given the source. You’re so bold, and your balls, so very, very big, that you can’t say any of these strong words about this supposed weakling with your name attached? Furthermore, are we just going to act like Martin might not have faced severe consequences for retaliating? Black men don't often get the benefit of the doubt in these situatons.
I don’t know how I would have handled Martin’s situation because I’ve never been in it.