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Martin/Incognito isn’t over by a long shot PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, February 22, 2014 9:00 PM

Metcalfe's Musings

By JIM METCALFE

Sports Editor

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Do you feel that we haven’t heard the last of the Richie Incognito/Johnathan Martin brouhaha?

I understand the report that the National Football League was pretty condemning of Incognito, as well as two other fellow linemen and a coach, that it claimed were involved in the harassment of Martin.

I figure there will be fallout — my guess is that Incognito’s career is over, for starters, and there will be changes in the way the NFL and its locker rooms “do business.”

 

No one wants to see bullying, abusive behavior, undignified behavior in any way. It shouldn’t be about demeaning ANYONE in building up a team or teammate.

At the same time, the powers-that-be need to tread lightly because if they are NOT careful, they may turn the locker room — when there needs to be real respect/unity (you may not “like” your teammates but you’d better respect them as players) — into nothing but a place of suspicion, where people are afraid of saying the wrong thing and thus destroying any sense of camaraderie.

To really have a team, players have to be able to speak their minds and clear the air.

Coaches talk about playing as one, not having any distractions to, well, distract them or their players from putting forth their best effort and winning games.

To really quell distractions, players have to feel free to address them, whatever they may be. I’m not saying “boys will be boys” but adults have to be adults; if they are prevented from doing so, the problem will only get worse and, I fear, explode.

Perhaps the answer will be one-on-one with a coach, another player, a group of players or even management.

What is the sad part of this Incognito/Martin spat is that Martin didn’t feel free to either confront the teammates that were responsible — he didn’t feel he could really defend himself, though I wonder what those thousands of text messages they sent amongst themselves were about — or be secure enough to go to someone else on the team or a higher-up.

Maybe he could have done so — most coaches claim they have an open door but who knows and apparently, teammates wondered why he didn’t — but apparently, he didn’t think he could. That we may not really know because, according to the report, the coaching staff — outside of the offensive line coach — was not responsible; this was purely a player-based act.

Who knows what Incognito will end up doing; it is his name above all that has been besmirched ever since this issue came to the forefront and he may decide to burn any bridges left — as I wrote before, his career is likely done — and sue the NFL — and perhaps Martin?

He wasn’t very kind to his erstwhile teammate immediately before and after the release of that report — though he did tweet apologies earlier this week to parties involved.

Still, I wonder if those were public relations moves or true changes of heart.

Think he could find a lawyer — lawyers — to take his case should he so choose to go ahead and bring a suit?

Either that or he may truly realize what he has done and finally figure it out.

My other question is: what about Martin?

It seems he wants to continue his NFL career — it would be sad for him to have ended his career this way because he can play but I can see why he could have lost the desire, too — or with which team he might play for.

Would he want to return to Miami? Would he — and/or perhaps his teammates — be able to put this whole mess behind them enough to accept each other as teammates again?

It won’t be easy and as I wrote before, there is going to have to be strong communication from everyone involved for this to even have a chance to work.

Here’s the rub: if some of his teammates thought he went about it all wrong, that he had the opportunity to address this issue head-on but didn’t, that would or has gotten around quickly and that might make a return to the game less likely.

A shame, really.

We shall see, won’t we?

Last Updated on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 9:18 PM
 

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