No Longer Incognito in Miami

 by Amy Lignor

Amid allegations, the sickness of bullying rises to the top of the news once again. This time around, we are not talking about a teenager who was bullied so badly that they ended up taking their own lives; we are now talking about adults. We are talking about working adults, who are seen by some as celebrities because they are athletes in the NFL.

 

Football is still the favorite sport in the USA. There are massive stars, incredible plays, amazing wins with only three seconds on the imgresclock, etcetera. Americans are proud of football and their favorite teams, that‘s a fact. There are QB’s who are talked about all the time, and waiting for that opening weekend where the season begins is just like waiting for whitetail season to open for the hunter – beyond exciting.

 

Football, as we know, is a contact sport. There will always be those crushing blows, concussions, and players limping off the field. Most will argue that they are adult men making a decision to play a hard game and…that’s that. Which is true. These are adult men who choose to play this sport and hope for the best when it comes to tackles. But if these are adult men as we believe, then when allegations of bullying appear they look about as intelligent as two-year-olds; not to mention, as mean as that high school bully who’s only job was to make people feel horrible about themselves and frightened to step into the building because of what they knew would be handed to them by a real jerk.

 

Before you call these things nothing more than pranks, and protest that if another guy is not up for a little ribbing by teammates than he shouldn’t be an NFL player – forget it! Bullying is bullying; it‘s a crime. The teenage girl you defend all over the Internet who takes her life because of this crap, is exactly the same as an adult male who’s taking this crap who could be contemplating suicide. Whether the bullying occurs in a high school hallway between classes, or an NFL locker room – the crime remains he same. Bullying HAS to be stopped! It’s disgusting, not funny, and has been proven to be the cause of death.

 

So what are the allegations I speak of? You all know already who follow football. And some of you are beyond angry, while others are shrugging, saying the guy should have more of a spine if he plays in this rough and tough game. (But the game is supposed to be ON the field – not OFF it!)

 

The Miami Dolphins (who are looking a bit like sharks) is where this story stems from. Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin left the team because of what was called an “emotional breakdown.” The Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incognito is being blamed for the disrespect, bullying and intimidation taken out against this guy. This made a toxic atmosphere, which is now spreading out to way more than just Martin. Apparently, according to the allegations, Incognito has been one of those ‘I am the best of the best and will crush you,’ power guys and no one has stopped him from acting like this.

 

Now, these were just allegations. However, last night the Miami Dolphins organization suspended Incognito, which is a pretty clear sign that the team is scared of what their reputation may become in the NFL from these reports. Or, someone finally came to the forefront and stood behind Martin telling the organization exactly what Incognito has been doing to other players.

 

There are NFL players who have played the game who were accused of selling drugs, DUI, DWI, even murder – yet they played the game and the reputation of the club was not destroyed. This bullying incident, however, may just be the open door into the locker room that no one ever wanted to see or believe was actually real. After all…these are grown men, right? If someone was bullying their daughter and making them cry, I have a feeling they would be beyond angry about that, don’t you?

 

The Dolphins first stated that the notion of bullying was ‘based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally.’ They said the NFLPA was not investigating players, and that they were going to continue to make Jonathan (Martin’s) health and well-being a focus.

 

Incognito responded on Twitter saying he was being targeted unfairly. Twitter?? Come on! Martin apparently didn’t file a complaint because he feared retribution from Incognito and others on the team. Again, a locker room sounds a lot like a hallway, doesn’t it?

 

Talk abounds about Incognito pressuring Martin to contribute $15,000 to help finance a trip the guy wasn’t even going on. Martin apparently gave Incognito the $15,000, fearing the consequences if he didn’t. Older players are using the younger ones to underwrite their parties, bling, and snooty lifestyles, with one anonymous young player apparently having coughed up so much cash that he’s in the poor house now.

 

Good natured ribbing? Enough! The bullying in the United States is moronic, with everyone from NFL coaches and teachers simply walking by the incidents taking place right before them and pretending they’re not happening. Most likely because they fear retribution, as well. When, exactly, did we let the bullies take over? You know what happens to people who can’t take the bullying? They take their own lives. They take their own lives because of a person who has a 98% chance of ending up to be nothing more than a drunken sot sitting in a bar all alone.

 

We as a country need to end this NOW!

 

Until Next Time, Everybody,

Amy

 

 

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