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Jenna Revisits Incognito, Martin

This is the long overdue follow up to the Martin and Incognito situation, but I did say there would be one. Here it goes!
“Behind the Face Mask” is an article on the MMQB website written by Peter King, giving inside perspective to the incidents that actually occurred within the Miami Dolphins locker room. From an outside standpoint, most spectators know hazing is not a thing to be taken lightly; but a small percentage believes it is just an aspect that comes with the position. Hazing is considered conformity for athletes who participate in sports ranging from the high school level to the big leagues. It is accepted. According to former Dolphins offensive lineman, Lydon Murtha, “Playing football is a man’s job and if there’s any weak link, it gets weeded out.” Murtha opened the curtain to provide viewers with the occurrences that happened between left guard Richie Incognito and left tackle Jonathan Martin.
When Martin was first drafted by the Miami Dolphins, multiple players commented on how he was quiet and didn’t seem to be finding his place on the team. A common act of rookies in the NFL is to purchase a dinner and open a bar tab for the position group they belong to. This is obviously an expensive thing to do, but has been a tradition for years. As stated in the article, Martin did not partake in this. Along with already having the nickname, “Big Weirdo,” on the team, given by Incognito, this act built more walls between Martin and his teammates. Another tradition the team partook in is the traditional “someone goes to sit down, everyone gets up” prank. Martin took this to heart when it happened to him. He was offended. Again, this distanced him from the Dolphins team.
Incognito had a leadership position on the team. He was the motivational speaker. From Murtha’s point of view, since Incognito worked side by side with Martin, he took him under his wing. When Martin was getting frustrated with the way he was playing, his teammate would pick him up. When Martin was not showing the effort he should have been putting in, Incognito “would give him the same crap as he would if he saw another Miami player not putting in effort.” If someone was not doing their part, Incognito was the teammate who would get in their face. He had no shame; he wanted what was best for his team. He was not single-handedly choosing Martin.
The coaches said to open Martin up and to figure him out. According to Murtha, this is where Incognito ran into a problem. Incognito was the comedian of the team and he did not have a filter. He was very open with Martin, although his teammate did not act the same. There are various voicemails where Incognito had used the n-word when referring to Martin. This clearly crossed the line, but Murtha pointed out that Martin would smile while having this type of talk within the locker room. Murtha also pointed out this is not just seen on the Miami Dolphins. This type of behavior and these bullying instances are seen on every single team. To Murtha, “This is a game of high testosterone, with men hammering their bodies on a daily basis. You are taught to be an aggressive person…” If a football player happens to be a passive person, they barely make the cut at the NFL level. The game of football tests the concepts of survival of the fittest and masculinity. This situation between Incognito and Martin challenges these two concepts.
It is obvious that both these men are quite talented. Physically, both these 300- pound men can compete at this level. Masculinity goes beyond physical features. Mental toughness is required as well, especially handling what is said and done in the locker room. Martin clearly did not meet these separate standards. Within the locker room, aside with what happens on and off the field, Martin felt he was bullied. All of his teammates, including Incognito, do not question or think what conversations and actions are acceptable because they are teammates and closely connected. Even if they felt offended by what was said or done, these athletes let it go. They want to be part of their team. If these standards were not met, they would be in Martin’s position. This is an aspect that defines the term over conformity.
Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin have and will suffer consequences due to this incident. Richie Incognito is now viewed as a racist person due to the media. An NFL team does not want a player that will bring negative attention to their franchise. Jonathan Martin, on the other hand, technically “broke the code” amongst his teammates. Solely because he had already proved to his former Miami teammates he was not willing to make the commitment to them. Other players will reject him because they don’t want their business brought to the media. No one wants to walk on eggshells. Martin did not handle this situation in the best of ways, especially since the Dolphins franchise had to deal with significant negative attention. Richie Incognito was doing what was considered normal and accepted while trying to break in his teammate, but, unfortunately, Jonathan Martin did not like how he went about it. Hazing cannot only make or break friendships, but professional careers as well.
Jenna Tuttolomondo

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