The incident that has occurred between Miami Dolphins offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin has become well publicized in the media. This situation has allowed for locker room protocol and antics to be debated by many analysts throughout various sports in terms of what is acceptable and what is not. While most of us in Sport Management at some time or another have played on a sport teams we are aware of the uniqueness of locker room behaviour.
Suspicion arose that something may have been wrong in the Dolphins organization when Martin went AWOL from the team. Shortly thereafter news came out regarding various altercations that occurred between Martin and Incognito in which Incognito sent hateful text messages and voice mails to Martin using racial slurs and other vulgar obscenities. However, as this case has developed, facts revealed that Martin spoke to Incognito in the same manner and that it was the way that these “friends” communicated with one another. Furthermore, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill even admitted that if you were to ask Martin who his best friend was prior to this incident, he would have said Incognito. Until the full facts of this case are revealed it will be difficult to understand if this was just common locker room banter that exists in the Dolphins locker room or not.
Meanwhile, one aspect that many did not see coming was the involvement of the Dolphins coaching staff in this incident. Rumors have swirled saying that coaches were aware of the hazing that had been going on and that the coaching staff had potentially instructed Incognito to harass Martin to “toughen him up” per se. If this happens to be true it will be interesting to see what sort of repercussions could emerge for the Dolphins organization for their involvement.
Many views have been shared in the media regarding this incident, some stating that this is simply the atmosphere that exists within NFL locker rooms, while others have brought upon the notion that things went too far in this situation. I now turn this debate over to you, the readers, is this just common locker room atmosphere, or has this incident exceeded the unwritten rules of the locker room?