I Thought it got Better After High School

The story of Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin is a very interesting one with many sides to the story.  As we have all heard in the news lately, the Miami Dolphins have suspended offensive lineman Richie Incognito due to adult bullying allegations from Dolphins rookie Jonathan Martin.  People are always told that bullying stops after high school and life gets better, so what are we to think when we find out that adult bullying is also a problem?

Those who come to the defense of Incognito say that it was just harmless hazing that all Rookies in the NFL go through.  I find it hard to believe that it was just harmless hazing due to Incognito’s troubled past and if it was just harmless, then why did Jonathan Martin check himself into a hospital to get treatment for emotional distress?  Either Jonathan Martin is the softest football player ever, or Richie Incognito was malicious and really did intend to threaten and terrify Martin.

Having played high school football I saw first hand the kind of stuff that happened inside the football locker room and to be honest there was a lot of hazing going on, but it was all in good fun and we never had any problems with players being injured or emotionally scarred due to the hazing.  If teammates had problems between one another, then they would take it out on each other during practice in hitting drills and that would always be the end of it.

It’s is these personal experiences that have led me to believe that maybe Incognito’s intentions were more malicious than everybody thinks.  Calling a teammate soft or taunting him in a competitive manner is one thing, but sending threatening and racial texts to them is another.  Many NFL players have chimed in on the situation and they all say that hazing is common and it is accepted by everyone as a common practice, but they feel like there is something deeper to this story due to the fact that it so emotionally affected Martin.  Do you believe that this was just an innocent form of hazing? Is it OK with you that hazing is a common practice in professional sports?


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3 Responses to I Thought it got Better After High School

  1. belinahooper says:

    Hey, great read ! Honestly, I think hazing comes in all shapes and sizes. Depending on the current emotional state of any player, some things may stab more than others. Hazing is something that has an extremely fine line, no matter what age you are or what team you play on. Being a dual sport NCAA athlete myself, I was lucky enough to be educated on hazing and the procedures to follow if it did happen. However, for most players, they will put up with anything because they want to be on that team, and will do anything to stay on that team. Whether the hazing emotional destroys them as a player or not, they will put up with it because 1) it’s free education 2) they get to play the sport every day with all expenses pay 3) they get attention from everyone at the school. I feel that hazing is something that needs extreme attention in every sport at all levels in both male and female sports. It is something that shouldn’t happen, whether it’s a sport team or not.

  2. wilsonjulia says:

    I also agree with Belina on this subject. Hazing is a very risky subject and situation for athletes to be put in and there definitely should be a line drawn as to how far it goes. Most people who have played sports can say that hazing is a common practice and most athletes experience it at least a few times within their careers. Therefore, it would most likely be safe to assume that Martin has experienced hazing before on other teams. But obviously the hazing that Martin experienced this time was taken too far due to the fact that he had to be hospitalized for emotional stress. I think teams need to implement stronger policies and rules to limit the severity of hazing that goes on or create stronger consequences. These athletes are all adults and should by now be able to use enough discretion in what is appropriate hazing and what is taking it too far. However, clearly there are some adults like Incognito, who do not know how to draw the line. For those people/athletes who do not know how to draw the line, there needs to be more strict rules and consequences for such actions in order to hopefully limit the extreme types of hazing such as this scenario.

  3. rbpatriots12 says:

    Hazing is very common but when it crosses the line it becomes a touchy subject. There was a story at the Cowboys training camps were a veteran player told Dez Bryant to carry his helmet. This kind of hazing is seen as a joke showing the rookies to respect the veterans. Other hazing like taping rookies to the goal posts or hiding their cars while they are in meetings are harmless pranks to welcome rookies to the team. Darnell Dockett of the Arizona Cardinals hold rookie haircuts every year during training camp to welcome rookies to the team. All of these seem harmless but when you force players to kick in money to trips they are not attending and verbally abuse them and their family it becomes more than hazing. Martin obviously felt he could not operate in the environment anymore and had to speak out. Im all for rookie hazing as a way to create chemistry as long as no one crosses the line, but where is the line drawn and who draws that line ?

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