Incognito and Martin: Story Still Not Clear


Martin and Incognito have brought much unneeded attention to the Miami Dolphins.

The picture is awfully blurry as of now, and logic seems to be nonexistent in this case that initially began with Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin but has spiraled into a muddled mess regarding the whole Miami Dolphins organization.

It all started on Oct. 28, when Jonathan Martin abruptly left the team facility after a prank pulled on him by teammate Richie Incognito and about a dozen other offensive linemen.

“We’ve done this prank many times before, and Jonathan’s been in on this prank when we did it to other linemen,” explained Incognito to Fox Sports. “Jon comes, he sits down, we all get up, we grab our trays and we’re all taking off, and we’re laughing.”

Incognito went on to explain that after this prank, Martin quickly got up, threw down his tray, and left to the locker room. Martin left the facility soon after, and hasn’t returned since.

This incident initiated some research behind the relationship that Martin and Incognito shared, and officials excavated a voice message that seemed to say it all.

In the voice mail, Incognito called Martin, who is African American, a racial slur followed by vulgar language and a death threat.

This crucial piece of evidence marked Incognito as a bully.

The story seemed to end there. It didn’t.

Many Dolphins players including quarterback Ryan Tannehill have surprisingly stood up for Incognito, changing the aspect of this case.

“If you asked Jonathan Martin who his best friend is on this team two weeks ago, he’d say Richie Incognito,” said Tannehill in a media session.

Incognito has also acknowledged that he was the one who “had [Martin’s] back.”

This overwhelming support for the accused villain has created a dividing line with some people now supporting Incognito; these people are siding with the fact that Martin overreacted instead of telling Incognito to knock it off.

In his interview with Fox Sports, Incognito repeatedly portrayed the notion that he was sorry, but ultimately defended his actions by stating that it was the culture of the Dolphins’ locker room. He expanded to say that the words they used to their teammates were vulgar, but out of love and brotherhood.

So the debate has boiled down to this: is this “culture” acceptable in football or not? Many teams are accustomed to hazing, usually in which veterans make the more inexperienced players engage in “rookie duties” or more humiliating tasks. This aura of messing around is usually accepted because it is all in good fun, but in some cases it may go a little too far. Incognito’s case of hazing: did it go too far?

According to West Ranch football player Eddy Park, hazing is beneficial when it is just good-humored banter between players who have formed a special brotherhood.

“When it’s all in good fun, I think it’s good for the team,” said Park, a sophomore on the JV team. “[Joking around] helps us bond and makes us grow as a team.”

Adding on to this, many voices from both the NFL as well as the college level have voiced an opinion similar to Park’s.

“You’ve seen guys tied to goal posts on ‘Hard Knocks’ over the years,” said ex-NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde.  “They laugh and go along with it. They understand nobody gets hurt. When you go along with it as a rookie, the older guys, the veteran guys, they know you’re a good sport, a good teammate. When it comes time to get into battle, they know they have your back and you have their back and you can go forward.”

But when it does go over the line, how should a team handle it?

Park answered, “It almost always stays friendly, but when it occasionally does become more serious or offensive, the team puts a stop to it.”

So was Martin overly sensitive? Or was Incognito overly aggressive?

It’s apparent that Incognito did send those insensitive voice mails, but the fact that the Dolphins’ members are siding with the “bully” and going on to say that Martin and Incognito were close friends reveals that the full truth has not been told.