Jonathan Martin, a second-year offensive tackle, recently left the Dolphins after accusing Incognito of hazing, dating back to his rookie year.
In the following days, other reports have come to light such as: Incognito and Martin actually being good friends, Incognito’s racial remarks said to be acceptable because he is considered an “honorary black man,” and Miami’s GM saying that Martin should’ve punched Incognito before leaving.
Whatever the case, the acts of hazing should not have occurred in the first place because a team should be a team and support each other, Incognito should be a leader, and these are grown men who need to act mature.
Hazing, the act of ostracizing another or forcing someone to do an action for initiation, divides a team, no matter what sport, and forces others to feel distant from their teammates, leading the whole team to be unsuccessful. By reducing a person’s mental stability, you are lowering their self-confidence, resulting in their play and contribution to the team to decline. There is no way a group of 53 men can win a Super Bowl if they do not support one another and work together.
According to Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Incognito and Jonathan Martin were friends and the constant “teasing” was just a joke between them, and anytime Martin was in trouble Incognito was the first to back him up. On the other hand, Martin ultimately felt victimized by the nine-year pro. Instead of putting players down all the time and forcing them to feel excluded and receive mental distress, Richie Incognito should know by now that he is a leader and he should be working to improve players instead of breaking them down to their lowest point.
The concept of watching 300 pound men play a child’s game seems a little far-fetched to non-football fans, but when they begin to act like children the whole game seems out of control to every human being. These players are being paid millions of dollars to then go act like five-year olds; that is not acceptable. It seems as if Incognito has not reached the peak of maturity in his life yet, but after the recent conviction, it may be coming soon.
In retrospect, the Miami Dolphins were right in suspending Richie Incognito, and other teams should follow their example for future cases. Although the reports coming out now may be anti-Martin opinions, the fact of the matter is that hazing should be strictly enforced. Severely traumatizing an individual will and should always be legally and morally wrong.