FanPost

The only explanation of the Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito situation that fits all we know.

We are all confused by what is going on, but perhaps there is a simple answer. First some background.

It appears that his team mates did not welcome Jonathan Martin into the locker room, because because he did not fit in. He was from a upper middle class family, with upper middle class values. These included not showing your feelings, being quiet, and not losing your temper and expressing your anger by being violent. In other words, he was not tough, like they were. Jonathan Martin was very smart, and according to some quotes from team mates, was not black, although his skin color was. He did not share the culture, values, and experiences of his black team mates. Nor many of his white team mates.

Both his parents went to Harvard, and were lawyers. They wanted him to go to Harvard. He would have been the first fourth-generation of an afro-american family to go there. I do not know for sure, but given this background, I would assume both his parents were active in the civil rights movement when they were young, and passed on their values and commitment to civil-rights to him. They were role-models, for all young black people.

However, Jonathan Martin wanted to be a student-athlete and went to the Harvard of the west, Stanford, which also has a big time football program. But Stanford's program was not blue-collar, like most football programs. The football players all qualified academically for Stanford, they had to be at the top of their class, and they had middle class values which was also evaluated as a part of the admission process. They shared the values of Jonathan Martin and were like him no matter what was their color.

This all changed when he joined the Miami Dolphins. This team was very blue-collar, as personified by Richie Incognito, who was very popular and one of the leaders of the team. Richie Incognito, also was one of the gatekeepers in the unofficial chain of command that a player was suppose to go to if they had a problem. But the actions of Richie Incognito was one of the problems Jonathan Martin had. So Martin said nothing and just let his grievances build up until the trigger was pressed. But this did not mean he did nothing, he handled his grievances, the way lawyer parents would have taught him to. Not the explosive violent outburst of a tough guy, but with the guile and cunning of a lawyer. He kept those things that were the evidence for his grievances.

Jonathan Martin came from a family of overachievers and was a overachiever himself. Something that all overachievers have in common is they all have strong Egos. It must have been extremely difficult for him, as everything he valued about himself was looked down upon by his team mates. But as long as Miami was winning, the stress he felt in the locker room was balanced by the pride of being a part of a winning team. However, he could not deal with the losing streak, bouncing between LT and RT which undermined his game, and his teammates joking around and pulling pranks rather then being serious and focusing on ending the losing streak. All of this undermined his self image, and caused him to snap.

He was disgusted with the culture of the locker room, which put him down, and valued nothing that he had been taught to value. There was no attempt made to produce good role models for the community which his skin color said he belonged to. The civil rights movement was an effort to lift his people, but the culture of the locker room seemed to celebrate that which kept his people down. He wanted to teach the team, the FO, and the NFL a lesson. And he is doing it in the only way that really matters in the US, thru the pocketbook.

Jonathan Martin actions all seem to indicate that he's going to file a lawsuit. He didn't break down, or go crazy, with the voicemails and threats in the privacy of his own home. He broke down, and left the team after a harmless lunch prank. This was in a public place with all of the team there, so someone is going to let their connections in the media know about it. If Martin handles it privately, the team, Incognito, coaches and everyone else has a chance to take control of the situation and diffuse it. This way the media investigates, and sees the bills for the Vegas trip, and the voicemails, and it blows up.

And now word that the coaches knew about it via anonymous sources? That sounds like something you need to target the NFL and the Dolphins in a lawsuit instead of just Incognito. This works towards proving more then workplace bullying, by establishing a lack of avenues to pursue to diffuse the situation. If Jonathan Martin decides he no longer wants to play football because of the locker room culture, at a minimum, he gets to keep the pay for the final 2.5 years of his rookie contract (worth I believe 4 million dollars.) This by itself, will alter the way teams treat their rookies, teams will no longer abuse them. That is a good positive step Martin has already brought about.

And now Martin is checking into mental health institutions? Trauma, shock, and nightmares probably follow soon. All of this sounds exactly like how you'd orchestrate a really big lawsuit to get back at the people abusing you, doesn't it?

All of it is falling neatly into place. Martin can now sue Incognito, the Dolphins and thus NFL, and they'll most likely settle because they don't want more word of an abusive culture inside the locker room coming out. This is especially true in a racially sensitive case in Florida of all places. To me, instead of fighting back using a fist, he is using words and the press. They disrespected him and everything he believed in, and now he is getting even. "The truth shall set you free." I think he's taking a smarter route (in a vacuum for revenge) by hitting them where it's really going to hurt. Incognito and the Dolphins and the NFL may not be racist, but they are racially insensitive (Redskins?) and in that they are disrespectful. Everybody of good character deserves respect.

I know some hate Jonathan Martin and think he is wrong. But if he did not do this, the corrupt locker room culture would still be covered up, He is taking care of his problem in a civilized all American way, by using the court of public opinion and the American legal system. He did not meet violence with violence, but rather with reason.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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