Friday, January 31, 2014
No winners in Martin-Incognito saga
By James Walker
MIAMI -- It’s been a week filled with back-and-forth banter between Miami Dolphins offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. For starters, Martin did his first interview with NBC Sports since the bullying scandal took place. Then, Incognito’s camp went on a barrage to discredit Martin’s claims with statements and released text messages.
Now that the NFL investigation is in the books, both sides are angling in the battle for public perception. The soon-to-be released Ted Wells report should tell all. But the blunt truth is there will be no winners in the Martin-Incognito saga when it’s all said and done.
At the very least, Incognito is a meathead football player. He’s an alpha-male who uses vulgar language, texts and messages to teammates to get his point across. That's his idea of “friendship.”
At the very least, Martin is socially awkward and proved he has trouble fitting in an NFL locker room. His willingness to communicate in equally crude ways, as Incognito proved, shows Martin is either weak-minded and gave into the culture or he’s downright hypocritical. Neither is good.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, allowed this twisted relationship to fester over a year and a half. Martin claims he told his position coach, presumably offensive line coach Jim Turner. But not enough was done from an organizational standpoint to stop the madness. Therefore, no one comes away clean from this high-profile bullying scandal.
It will be hard for both Incognito and Martin to find jobs next season -- albeit for different reasons. NFL coaches and general managers will be afraid to take in a player with Incognito's bad-boy reputation. Meanwhile, players in the locker room will have a hard time deciding if Martin is trustworthy and mentally tough enough. Opportunities are fleeting for both parties.
The decisions Martin and Incognito made for more than a year will put a major scar on both players' careers. Based on their actions this week, someone is trying to come out the winner. But winning is not an option for either party.