Bullies in the Locker Room

Okay- not so adventure-based, but definitely something to think about when with your adventure buddies…

Since the story about Dolphins punk Richie Incognito broke I have been in Jonathan Martin’s camp. There was just something about the way this was getting played out. You can look back on previous postings and see where I stated that this was a probably not limited to just a bully and one other person- it was going to reveal that others on both sides of the bully-ball were going to be involved.

I have also shared on the podcast how I grew up as a victim of bullying. Now I do understand and even condone that kids need to work things out to a degree. Part of what makes our society solid is a bit of toughening up. I could share horror stories of some of the hazing that took place in some of my military units. Even though I was on the receiving end much of the time- I would not want it to go away. It is part of what united us.  One key difference in what took place in my various units- once the “initiation” was complete- you were no longer hazed and you were part of the team.

Everyone has had that one bully in life. I hate bullies and look for opportunities to take them down.

Everyone has had that one bully in life. I hate bullies and look for opportunities to take them down.

Growing up there was always that one fat bastard who terrorized everybody. We all have a Scott Farkus in life. That one kid with yellow eyes like in the movie Christmas story. They were the fortunate few that hit puberty a bit earlier and had a mean streak to go along with it. Let me say this strait. I hate bullies and when opportunity strikes- I take them out. A few years ago I was confronted on a side street. Some Billy-Bob Redneck tried to take me out in my Jeep by forcing me off the road and into a parking lot. Getting out of his over-sized (never seen mud) pick-up he was quickly heading at me in my rig shouting I was a poser (referring to my Jeep). Fortunately for him, he changed his mind as he was approaching my vehicle. I had my side arm trained on him out of site, below the door frame. The hammer was back and one or two steps more he would have been a corpse.

There are a few things about this case that sickens me. The first is head coach Joe Philbin was either naïve about the situation or just didn’t care. The Wells’ report goes out of its way to protect the coach. As a leader you are responsible for everything your team does or fails to do. Philbin had to have insiders who knew what was going on.

Let me go through my list of what I see as insulting in the scenario.

Team Integrity

We know through actions, well inaction the Joe Philbin is a horrible leader. But he isn’t the only one. The locker room has a lack of leaders. At no point did anyone take a stand. At no point did anyone accept Martin into the family. At no point did a leader emerge to watch Martin’s back. Instead of standing up for Martin at some point, toadies Mike Pouncey and John Jerry continued to “punk” Martin, including on a yacht trip with the team.

The Dolphins Locker Room sounds more like a frat house. You know, the place that produces more alcohol abuse, gang rape, and test cheating than any other location on campus.

Incognito is a Blatant Liar

There are times I really believe bullies have more brawn than brains. Instead of admitting the issue and fixing it, Richie’s social media went on full-blown overload to refute the claims. Dude, there are times you need to just shut up. Apologize. Don’t make excuses, don’t destroy evidence, and don’t try to get people into your corral. Say you’re sorry and take your lumps. Incognito said “The truth will set me free” and then added to Martin, “The truth is going to bury you and your entire ‘camp”. Victims rarely have allies willing to stand with them, and as above, Martin really didn’t have a camp. Side note Richie, your camp ratted you out for the punk you are.

Martin Wasn’t the Only Target of Opportunity

We already established that bullies have to have a tribe to be successful. They also thrive on multiple targets they can single out when one is not available. This also helps to weaken any opposition that may come at them. It’s an age-old tactic used by the ruthless.

The Wells’ report mentions taunting of a fellow offensive player, Andrew Mc Donald and that taunting included sexual slurs and allegations of homo-sexuality. To make matters worse, “leadership” aka Offensive Line Coach Jim Turner was aware of a locker room joke that McDonald was gay.

I guess Turner was missing some of the frat house camaraderie so he decided to participate in the taunting as well. It gets better guys, to celebrate the giving for Christmas; Turner gave the offensive linemen gift bags that included inflatable female dolls for all of the offensive linemen except McDonald, who received a male ‘blow-up’ doll.

The Dolphins line apparently was not content with limiting their reign of terror to personal insults and psychological and physical abuse. They decided to pull race into their bag of tricks. Athletic Trainers are some of the most giving individuals in the world. Their main gig in life is to keep those superstars we watch every Sunday healthy. It’s a thankless job. They handle feet and ass each day and are relatively low on the totem pole.

In spite of everything he did to keep his players safe and pain-free, on the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Incognito and fellow punks Jerry and Pouncey strapped on traditional Japanese headbands that featured a rising sun emblem and threatened to harm the Assistant Trainer physically in retaliation for the Pearl Harbor attack. Once again Turner was involved. He gave the head bands to his three stooges.

Most Victims Don’t Feel They Can Fight Back

 

As I said before, I was bullied. I will call one out by name, Greg Thelander. Read in my blog and listen to podcast that I have done where I discuss near drowning, having me head sat on while he farted on my face, and where I was continually pounced on. How he stole everything from cigarettes to porn and stashed them at my house, and when getting caught I was too afraid he would retaliate and had to take the fall on my own. I am now a different man, and Greg, well karma is a bitch dude…

Some of the early postings I read about Martin included asking why at 300 plus pounds, he didn’t jack one in the jaw of Incognito. Remember, bullies run in packs, they keep you intimidated, and for a team…well no one wants to rock the boat. Incognito ran the line. Richie and crew had their own rules, including a published code, complete with fines for offensives that went against the greater good of the team. Richie, maybe you should have been tracking and fining for the 50+ sacks your incompetent line allowed. Perhaps Incognito should use those fines to reimburse Dolphin fans as well.

The bullying didn’t start for Martin once he became a Dolphin. Like most of us, it begins somewhere before middle school and continues throughout high school. For me, bullying, which diminished my own self-confidence, feelings of self-worth, and self-esteem to a point I just wanted to disappear. In fact, I was bullied so much I often went on long runs or bike rides to avoid getting taunted.

Martin admits periodic bouts of depression during his formative years, and later as a professional player when he even contemplated suicide after a cyber bully session from Incognito. Understandable, whether it a pro sports team, your fellow soldiers on a convoy team, or your office mates, when you don’t feel your are valued to the team, it infects every part of your soul.

Incognito Knows He Was Wrong

Most Bullies, in spite of how big and strong they are, really are cowards. Incognito ordered his followers to destroy the code book, lie to investigators, and squelch evidence. Jonathan Martin may never play another down of football, which is sad. He is a brilliant man who had a good college career at Stanford, has a loving family that supports him, and could likely be a good role model in the right situation when surrounded by a supportive team. From what I see in the Wells’ report is a huge pay-day for Martin. Incognito, Turner, Pouncey, and Jerry had an opportunity to take somebody who really wanted to please his team and perform at high expectations and do nothing but tear him down. Richie Incognito has a history of bad decisions not only on the football field, but on the golf course as well. Now he has taken it to another level. You hate to wish ill-will on people, but as I said before…karma is a bitch dude…

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