Report sheds light on football locker room culture-and it isn’t pretty

You may recall the case of Jonathan Martin, the football player for the Miami Dolphins who walked off of the team in the middle of the season because he could not tolerate any more the hazing that he was being subjected to by his teammates, principally Richie Incognito, and some coaches. I wrote about it here, here, and here.

This high-profile walkout triggered an investigation by the NFL that hired a lawyer Ted Wells to look into what happened and his 144-page report has just been released

New York magazine provides a summary of main findings. There is a lot to be repelled by in the racist, sexist, and homophobic words and practices the report describes, but the comments the tormentors made to Martin about his sister, someone they had never met, are absolutely disgusting.

As Eric Sollenberger writes:

The NFL has an asshole problem.

There is absolutely nothing that came out in the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin report from Ted Wells that can be taken to mean anything else. Enough about this “locker room culture” crap. There is no such thing as “locker room culture.” This is just a phrase used by people who are uncomfortable with good athletes being reasonably called out on deplorable behavior. What happened in the Miami Dolphins locker room can be described as nothing else but a group of man-children hiding behind a veneer of alpha male-ism in a society that excuses their stupid actions.

I’ve never known any effective “team-building” exercise that involves keeping a spiral notebook outlining fines for “breaking” someone to the verge of psychosis. You don’t get “broken” by your peers and come back fine the next day. You come back with a deep resentment of them and more importantly, of yourself, that you try to mask by attempting to be just as big of an asshole as they are.

Incognito got broken too at some point in his life, and he never came back “fine.” He came back making sure that it was going to be someone else who gets broken next time.

That sounds right.


  1. AnotherAnonymouse says

    Is it any surprise that some football players are utter assholes? From a very young age, they are held up as gods in their towns and schools and any atrocity they commit is waved away.

  2. doublereed says

    I must say that the report paints the coaches, parents, and authority figures in a very good light, concerned about the players’ well being. Incognito really comes across as an abuser and bully, rapidly switching between friend and asshole.

    But sweet jesus talk about a hostile work environment. I mean he put up with that shit for over a year? It was only when he realized that it wasn’t getting better after he became a second-year that he decided that enough was enough.

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