A National Football League locker room is far different than your standard American workplace. That said, it’s still a workplace, and employees must be be protected against peer abuse, including bullying. This week, Jonathan Martin showed the football community and the rest of us how to defeat a bully.
(Photo Credit: Daaka2/Flickr)
The extent of abuse Martin suffered from fellow Miami Dolphins offensive lineman and “teammate” Richie Incognito is under investigation by the NFL. Multiple reports have stated Incognito called Martin, who is biracial, racial epithets multiple times, including a recorded voicemail message calling Martin a “half n—– piece of s—.”
Martin, a second-year player from Stanford, did exactly what one should do when being bullied in the workplace. He told management of the abuse. It takes courage to standup to a bully and though Martin may have wanted to fight back with violence, he didn’t. He filed a complaint and walked away.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the NFL agrees.
New York Giants defensive back Antrel Rolle told a New York radio station Martin was just as much to blame as Incognito.
“Was Richie Incognito wrong? Absolutely. But I think the other guy is just as much to blame as Richie, because he allowed it to happen. At this level, you’re a man. You’re not a little boy. You’re not a freshman in college. You’re a man.”
The irony of Rolle’s comments is Martin did act like a man, while Rolle sounds like a little boy. On Pro Football Talk, NFL reporter Mike Florio argued convincingly that it’s ignorant to even suggest Martin had done anything wrong.
“Given the number of American workplaces in which disgruntled employees have committed horribly violent acts and in light of the high percentage of professional football players who own guns, getting in a guy’s face away from the field no longer should be regarded as an acceptable solution to harassment,” Florio wrote. “A truly grown-ass man will at all times refrain from violence, he’ll file a complaint, and he’ll deal with the flak from any meatheads who think that it’s still better to punch someone in the mouth.”
There is no timetable for Martin to return to the Dolphins and the team is expected to cut Incognito.
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