The question a lot of people asked after Jonathan Martin abruptly walked out on the Miami Dolphins was "Why didn't he speak up beforehand?" Well, we got a lulu of an answer yesterday. Almost to a man, the Dolphins players rose to the defense of Richie Incognito.
"I think if you have a problem with somebody -- a legitimate problem with somebody -- you should say, 'I have a problem with this,' and stand up and be a man," Dolphins offensive tackle Tyson Clabo said. "I don't think what happened is necessary. I don't know why he's doing this, and the only person who knows why is Jonathan Martin."Uh huh. You're supposed to just "stand up and be a man" in response to something like that? And apparently he wasn't the only one. General manager Jeff Ireland--who, to my mind, is responsible for bringing Incognito onto the team in the face of numerous red flags dating at least back to his time in St. Louis, and maybe even back to his college days at Nebraska--actually suggested that Martin pick a fight with Incognito in the days immediately before Martin walked out on the team.
Multiple sources confirmed to ESPN on Monday that Incognito used racial epithets and profane language toward Martin on multiple occasions. In a transcript of a voice mail message from April, Incognito referred to Martin as a "half n----- piece of s---," and added, "F--- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."
As tone-deaf as that was, in the eyes of some Dolphins, the now-infamous voicemail Incognito left Martin really wasn't a death threat.
Some Dolphins players were aware of the contents in the voice mail, but many defended Incognito against claims that he is racist and intended to harm Martin.This is so ridiculous I don't know where to start. You're supposed to figure out what part of threats against you and your mom aren't supposed to "count"? Small wonder that James Walker of ESPN concluded that if Martin ever plays in the NFL again, it probably shouldn't be in Miami--at least not under the current regime.
"I never thought it was a death threat," Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline said. "I never thought he was actually going to do the things he said. If you can't take validity from one part of the voice mail, how do you take validity from the whole voice mail? You can't pick and choose what parts count and which parts don't count."
And to top it all off, it now turns out that Martin had a chat with head coach Joe Philbin in the spring to discuss the situation. It is now demonstratably obvious that whatever Philbin did, he didn't see to it that the message got through. Gil Alcaraz of Rant Sports puts it best--this is a sign of a head coach who doesn't have control of his locker room.
If word got out that a government workplace had an environment like this, there is no way we'd stand for it. The diary list would be crowded with diaries demanding whoever is in charge get the gate. This is no different. Unless I'm very wrong here, Philbin allowed a racist thug to drive a player off the team. He needs to go.