The Dolphin Code: NFL Gangsta in Miami

We are going to take a little detour in our weekly lighthearted football trash talk here at the Emptywheel Blog. I will return to the actual games at the end of this post, but for now I want to discuss a hideous and, hopefully, transformative moment in football – the abusive workplace environment to which the Miami Dolphins subjected Jonathan Martin.

As you may know by now, Jonathan Martin is the second year Miami Dolphins offensive tackle who has left the team because of harassment, primarily by fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito, but apparently by other teammates as well.

The official statement by Martin’s lawyer, David Cornwell (a fantastic attorney by the way), gives a pretty fine synopsis of the situation:

Jonathan Martin’s toughness is not at issue. Jonathan has started every game with the Miami Dolphins since he was drafted in 2012. At Stanford, he was the anchor for Jim Harbaugh’s “smash mouth” brand of football and he protected Andrew Luck’s blind side.

The issue is Jonathan’s treatment by his teammates. Jonathan endured harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing. For the entire season-and-a-half that he was with the Dolphins, he attempted to befriend the same teammates who subjected him to the abuse with the hope that doing so would end the harassment. This is a textbook reaction of victims of bullying. Despite these efforts, the taunting continued. Beyond the well-publicized voice mail with its racial epithet, Jonathan endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate, and daily vulgar comments such as the quote at the bottom. These facts are not in dispute.

Eventually, Jonathan made a difficult choice. Despite his love for football, Jonathan left the Dolphins. Jonathan looks forward to getting back to playing football. In the meantime, he will cooperate fully with the NFL investigation.

Quote from teammate: “We are going to run train on your sister. . . . She loves me. I am going to f–k her without a condom and c– in her c—.”

That was on top of the fact direct racial animus evidencing epithets from Incognito to Martin were already known to be in play.

“Hey, wassup, you half n—– piece of s—. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s— in your f—ing mouth. [I’m going to] slap your f—ing mouth. [I’m going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. F— you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”

This is beyond ugly conduct, and, frankly, beyond simple “harassment”. Worse, it appears that it was a pattern of conduct not only encouraged, but requested by Dolphins’ management. They ordered a code red on Jonathan Martin.

Jason Whitlock had a very provocative take on the effect of incarceration and thug culture in general at play, a take that rings all too, uncomfortably, true. Dave Zirin at The Nation has a fine take on what the “Bully Solidarity” of the Dolphins organization in the Martin matter means.

So, this hideous and intolerable conduct is legally actionable against Incognito (and the Dolphins via vicarious liability) by Jonathan Martin, right? Sure, anybody can sue anybody else, and Martin can certainly bring a civil complaint here. But the chances of success are far more tenuous than you likely think (and far more difficult than ESPN’s legal idiot, er expert, Lester Munson thinks).

The most common theory mentioned is workplace discrimination, presumably under a Title VII racial animus hostile work environment claim. But this statement of the elements, and discussion of a somewhat similar factual scenario in Carpenter v. Con-Way Central Express, Inc., 481 F.3d 611 (8th Cir. 2007) displays the difficulty Martin faces on this theory:

To establish a Title VII race-based hostile work environment claim, a plaintiff must show (1) he is a member of a protected group, (2) he is subjected to unwelcome race-based harassment, (3) the harassment was because of his membership in the protected group, and (4) the harassment affected a term, condition, or privilege of his employment. Singletary v. Mo. Dep’t of Corr., 423 F.3d 886, 892 (8th Cir.2005). A hostile work environment “is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment” as viewed objectively by a reasonable person. Tademe v. Saint Cloud State Univ., 328 F.3d 982, 991 (8th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation omitted). “To be actionable, the conduct complained of must be extreme in nature and not merely rude or unpleasant.” Nitsche v. CEO of Osage Valley Elec. Coop., 446 F.3d 841, 846 (8th Cir.2006) (citations omitted). “Allegations of a few isolated or sporadic incidents will not suffice; rather, the plaintiff must demonstrate the alleged harassment was `so intimidating, offensive, or hostile that it poisoned the work environment.'” Id. (quoting Tuggle v. Mangan, 348 F.3d 714, 720 (8th Cir.2003)).

Hardy’s racial insults were not shown to be connected to Hardy’s misloading of or placing garbage in Carpenter’s trailer. Carpenter testified Hardy “was an instigator to everybody” who “would instigate problems” such as “do[ing] things . . . intentionally” to “piss a driver off” and then run down the dock telling everybody he had just done something to someone’s trailer. J.A. 98. While Carpenter was a favorite target of Hardy’s childish pranks, another employee testified Hardy played a practical joke on somebody “about daily.” J.A. 253. This evidence does not show objectively hostile conduct. See, e.g., Singletary, 423 F.3d at 892-93 (finding job environs where the plaintiff had second-hand knowledge his co-workers and some managers referred to him as a “nigger” and where his vehicle had been vandalized on several occasions not objectively severe and pervasive); Bainbridge v. Loffredo Gardens, Inc., 378 F.3d 756, 759 (8th Cir. 2004) (finding racial remarks, made directly to plaintiff, once a month for two years by owner and operators, was insufficient to render the workplace objectively hostile).

That is pretty common law across the various circuits from what I can tell, is generally consistent with what I have seen in the past in the 9th Circuit, and should hold in the 11th Circuit which covers Florida. It certainly does not preclude such a claim by Martin, but shows the burden he will be up against. And keep in mind the environment in Carpenter was far more benign and less testosterone and violence oriented than an NFL workplace, and such facts matter in a relative consideration of the claim, and circumstances of alleged discrimination.

Another theory I have seen bandied about is intentional infliction of emotional distress, one would presume via a pendant state law claim. That too may be problematic. The elements of the intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action in Florida are:

The wrongdoer’s conduct was intentional or reckless;

The conduct was outrageous, that is, as to go beyond all bounds of decency, and to be regarded as odious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community;

The conduct caused emotional distress; and

The emotional distress was severe.

And Florida appellate law, which would putatively control such a claim even in Federal Court, is fairly strict:

Johnson v. State Dept. of Health and Rehab. Svc’s, 695 So.2d 927 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997)]], quoting Dominguez v. Equitable Life Assurance Soc’y, 438 So.2d 58, 59 (Fla. 3d DCA 1983).

Only conduct, which is “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community,” meets the standard necessary to state a claim for IIED. Clemente v. Horne, 707 So.2d 865, 867 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998), citing Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 46 cmt. D (1965). “It is not enough that the intent is tortuous or criminal; it is not enough that the defendant intended to inflict emotional distress; and it is not enough if the conduct was characterized by malice or aggravation.” Id. citing State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Novotny, 657 So.2d 1210, 1213 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995).

Claims based solely on allegations of verbal abuse are also generally legally insufficient. De La Campa v. Grifols America Inc., 819 so.2d 940 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002) citing Ponton v. Scarfone, 468 So.2d 1009 (Fla. 2d DCA 1985) (statements made to induce employee to join sexual liason did not establish IIED).

So, to make a long story somewhat shorter, and not delve too deeply into legal minutiae when there is not even yet a complaint to analyze, the litigation chances of success are certainly far from clear cut. And the types of “hey, NFL boys will be boys” defenses were aptly shown in the “Bully Solidarity” piece by Zirin.

But the Dolphin code red run on Jonathan Martin is but a symptom of a larger problem, the disposable gladiator thug mentality showcased and lionized by the NFL. From the NFL, by far the most popular sport in America, it oozes into the fabric of society. And the NFL has already shown its craven, arrogant, scorched earth litigation tendencies by their despicable strategy in the CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) case brought by former players who are increasingly shown to be decimated by the NFL lifestyle.

The NFL does not just “have” a problem, they “are” the problem. The NFL does not just condone the thug life, they encourage it and sell it for profit. The way the NFL, and the Dolphins, have responded to date to the Jonathan Martin case is deplorable. If they have an ounce of social righteousness and moral ethics, they will allow their “special investigator” Ted Wells to do a real investigation with an eye toward cleaning up the league. It is the least they can do.

But don’t hold your breath. As Whitlock says:

It’s now time for Roger Goodell to render a verdict on wardens Ireland and Philbin and Cell Block D leader Incognito. The world is so upside down that I half expect Goodell to suspend Martin for conduct detrimental to American idiocy.

Yep, that’s about right. Especially when it comes to Roger Goodell and the NFL.


Stanford PlayersNerdsOkay, I promised some actual trash talk. Away we go. In the biggest game last night, the Stanford Tree blew up the Quacks from Oregon. The nerds of Stanford showed in the post game press conference as shown to the right. The Tree deserved the win, though it undoubtedly will keep the Pac out of the BCS Championship Game yet again. Seriously, I have no idea how anybody could rate the cheap undefeated record of Ohio State over the one loss Tree. The Pac is simply a lot better conference than the B1G now and, top to bottom, may well be better than the SEC. Baylor left a mark on the Sooners and the Vikings beat the hapless Redskins (how can Shanahan still have a job after this year?).

Saturday’s best game is unquestionably LSU at the Tide in Tuscaloosa. Short of a run in with Johnny Football in the SEC Championship, this is the best shot for a loss by Bama. Sorry, not happening. ASU visits the Utes of Utah, who managed a home win against Stanford earlier in the year. The Devils are on a little roll; I am going out on a limb and predicting they take care of Utah.

For the pros on Sunday, Lions at Bears is the class of the bunch. Cutler and his groin are cleared to play. I am sure he will, but I would stick with Josh McCown were it me; Cutler is not 100% and the Man Named Suh will be chasing him. Eagles at the Pack is suddenly far more a close call without Aaron Rodgers, take the Iggles in an upset. Oakland ant the Giants ought to be a fair fight between teams that can’t get out of their own way. If the Bengals beat the Ravens in Baltimore, they may take control of the division for good. But the Bengals regressed in a loss to Miami last week, so it is a toss em. It would be tempting to take Cam Newton and the Panthers over the Niners – except the game is in San Francisco. Donkos should take care of the inconsistent Bolts.

Also, why the Lions will beat da Bears: After seeing what she did to Matthew Stafford, the Kittehs have signed Bridget the Cat at Defensive back.

Well, there you have it. Talk some trash people!

82 replies
  1. masaccio says:

    That mess with Jonathan Martin is all over ESPN sports Center, so I know more about it than I usually would. The thing is that Martin is being persecuted for the same things that got a lot of us nerds beat up in grade school: he isn’t a stupid shit like Incognito. Martin had no way out of his situation. That little asshole has driven Martin out of the game. I don’t see how he can play in the league, and I don’t see how he can get into coaching. It’s over for him.

    Then I heard the ex-football players talking about this, and it was all about how Martin needed to handle this like a man, presumably by beating Incognito into a pulp. This in the week the wonderful Tony Dorsett announced his issues with CTE, and we got reminded of Dave Duerson who was driven to suicide by it. And I can’t shake the memory of the rape cases at my alma mater, Notre Dame.

    Football just isn’t as much fun as it used to be.

  2. bmaz says:

    @masaccio: Yeah, that is kind of my thought process too. The NFL not only is brutal, they are absolutely idiotic for allowing this to play out the way it is with players and chosen media all rolling with the “Martin needs to man up” routine.

    The league could have immediately put a cork in this and said “we won’t tolerate this and things will change”. But no.

  3. Seedee Vee says:

    You guys bust me up.

    These are men, playing a game, for billions of dollars, trying to physically destroy and disable other grown men that have families that depend on that limited-time-frame-fat paycheck (Mr. Bundchen excepted)that the NFL brings to the chosen few.

    Mr. Martin proved to be exactly the “type of guy” that the other players did not want. Someone that runs instead of fights. Winning Football is about physical and mental dominance. Mr. Martin is a football failure. Now he can get on with his non-football life.

    “The NFL does not just condone the thug life, they encourage it and sell it for profit.” — I think you just baited the race trap for Zirin. Some people might think you are complaining about how “black” all the players are.

  4. guest says:

    Gee, Seedee Vee, now that you have brought it into the open, let’s just drop all the pretense about football and start holding the games in honest-to-gods gladiator pits. And fuck this metaphorical “sudden-death” overtime shit. Less metaphor; more and faster death, please.

  5. nomolos says:

    The despicable culture of the football locker room what with the proselytizing, the “hazing, the bullying and abuse has absolutely nothing to do with performance on the field. I played rugby for 30 plus years and never once did I witness, or even hear about, the kind of behavior condoned by the football coaches and league. I understand the same system of bullying and abuse holds true in baseball locker rooms as well.

    The Miami situation is a cultural failure and it took a very brave man to speak up and expose the ritualistic denegration of some players, encouraged by coaches, that happens in locker rooms across America.

    Martin, far from needing to “man up”, put his career, and maybe even his life, on the line to bring light to the dark world of abuse in football locker rooms. A very brave man indeed.

  6. emptywheel says:

    @masaccio: Also, in Schefter’s first timeline of this he drew in the time Richard Seymour punched Incognito and got fined $30,000. Did Incognito call Seymour the N-word? If so, all punching him did for Seymour was to get him a big fat fine.

  7. emptywheel says:

    Btw, bmaz, I agree with you. Da Bears would be better off with a healthy McCown than an immobile Cutler. That said, the glaring weak point on the Kitties is their secondary. So maybe they figure Forte will keep Suh off Cutler long enough for him to exploit that.

  8. Bay State Librul says:


    Excellent analysis.
    Miami plays on Monday night…
    Imagine the chatter.
    Unless there is a bombshell, the court of public opinion is on Martin’s

  9. Jim White says:

    @nomolos: Yeah, as for the hazing and bullying also being a part of baseball, I think the distinctly different clubhouse atmosphere is one of the reasons I have become such a big fan of the Rays. Maddon puts a ton of effort into creating the right kind of attitude in the clubhouse: each homestand features one day of craziness in the clubhouse such as visits by penguins, a salsa band or even a giant python. But perhaps the opposite story of Incognito-Martin is seen in the unexpected friendship between Luke Scott and Jose Lobaton.

    Scott is in many respects a right wing nutjob. He has a history that includes racism and birther comments. But somehow, and I suspect that Maddon lurks somewhere in this coming about, Scott wound up friends with young catcher Jose Lobaton. He was essentially a rookie in the 2012 season (he appeared in 7 games with San Diego in 2009 and 15 games with the Rays in 2011) so he should have been subject to intense hazing in the 2012 season. Instead, Scott seems to have befriended a young kid from Venezuela even though one would have expected him to lead the hazing. Scott encouraged Lobaton’s batting development and found that Lobaton was motivated by ice cream. Scott served Lobaton ice cream in the dugout while the game was still going for Lobaton’s first few homers.

    The trend stuck, and when Lobaton hit a dramatic tenth inning walk-off homer late in the season this year, Maddon rewarded him with a full five gallon tub of ice cream on the airplane as the team took off that night on a roadtrip. But Scott started the process that built confidence in a kid that he would have been hazing the shit out of in just about any other locker room in MLB.

    [I still haven’t softened THAT much on Scott, though. I’m hoping his contract with the Rays isn’t renewed and they hang on to Delmon Young as their DH next year.]

    As for my Gators, we’re oh so close to being able to put an end to the long nightmare that has been Will Muschamp. Two more wins are needed for bowl eligibility and only the Georgia Southern game is considered safe. Today’s homecoming game against Vandy is the most winnable of the others (no chance against FSU and very little against South Carolina), so a loss today and the likely end of any bowl chance just might do it.

    On a brighter note, I will be renewing my Gator season tickets for baseball sometime this week. Sounds like they have a good crop of freshmen and a couple of key veterans back from injury, especially pitcher Karsten Whitson.

  10. emptywheel says:

    It would be just if, having lost two of its starting Offensive Linemen to its own thuggery, Miami lost to the Bucs, who after all are slowly coming around and looked pretty good for 50 minutes last week.

  11. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: As to the Lions’ weakness in the secondary…

    I don’t buy it. Because now the Kittehs have Kitty for pass defense (courtesy of Phillip Anderson). Actually meant to put this in the post. Maybe I will go back and do it now; Ladies and Gents, I give you…

    KITTY, pass defender.

  12. harpie says:

    For some reason reading about the “testosterone and violence oriented […] NFL workplace” keeps making me think of the recent Aikins article in Rolling Stone Jim wrote about yesterday.

  13. ess emm says:

    I think I’m done with pro football.

    This hideous locker room conduct is completely of a piece with the barbarism we see on the field. Cant separate them.

    To be a man is be good at violence. And better men are better at violence. Ugh.

  14. GulfCoastPirate says:

    If Alabama gets beat then will one of Ohio State and Baylor get passed over for a one loss Alabama to meet Florida State in the NC? Does that one loss Alabama really deserve to go ahead of Stanford/Baylor based on their schedule this year?

    What happens if Florida State and Alabama both lose and Baylor runs the table? Shouldn’t Stanford jump ahead of both (how in the world did they lose to Utah?)?

    Baylor looked like the real deal to me the other night and I say that with no love for Baylor. They didn’t even play all that well offensively, had their top two backs out and still put up 41 against a decent Oklahoma defense. They may well be the best team I’ve seen this year.

  15. jo6pac says:

    @masaccio: That little asshole has driven Martin out of the game.

    There are other teams that do not allow this and the 9ers are one. I would be more then happy to see him play on the Left Coast. Go 9ers, almost everyone is healthy just in time for show time:)

  16. Peterr says:

    @ess emm:Brian Phillips at Grantland took on the folks with that attitude very very well two days ago. He channeled the NFL “man up” attitude and handed it back to them, sliced, diced, julienned, and then tenderized into obvilion:

    I am here to start a fight, because I’m a man and that’s how I solve problems. I’m not here to help you. I am here to fucking hurt you. That’s what I’ve learned in my years as an NFL fan. You have an issue with somebody? You see somebody being stupid? You don’t look the other way. You don’t back down. You strap on your man boots and you shove it through their teeth.

    Let me tell you how I know this. I know it because the NFL told me. Take the Dolphins. They suck, but they’re still in the NFL. I’m telling it like it is; that’s what men do. . . .

    Warriors make war on warriors. There’s no room for crying in this game. You have a problem, you handle it on the field. Handle it as a man. Go down swinging. I hear you, NFL, and that’s why I’m not here to move you or persuade you. If you have a penis and feelings, you’d better cut one of them off. I’m here to start a fight.

    Because this — this idea that Jonathan Martin is a weakling for seeking emotional help — this is some room-temperature faux-macho alpha-pansy nonsense, and I am here to beat it bloody and leave it on the ground. Every writer who’s spreading this around, directly or by implication; every player who’s reaction-bragging about his own phenomenal hardness; every pundit in a square suit who’s braying about the unwritten code of the locker room — every one of these guys should be ashamed of himself, and that’s it, and it’s not a complicated story. . . .

    There will always be locker-room assholes. They should be curtailed. And when a player says he needs time off for mental reasons — again: in a sport with a suicide problem — it shouldn’t spark a national conversation on whether he’s soft.

    I am here to hurt you, so I’ll also say this: You’re a warrior, cool. What the hell are you a warrior for? I’m sorry if this makes it sound like I have emotions other than anger — I assure you that I don’t — but tell me this: What’s the point of being strong if all you stand for is abusing a suffering teammate? Those guys who taught me that when you see a problem, you step up and solve it, all those anonymous sources foaming on about how to be a man — is that what they think “being a man” is? I mean, nothing about protecting someone who’s struggling in your big gender equation, then? Nothing about, like, knowing right from wrong?

    Here’s what I can’t stop thinking: There were so many tough men in that Dolphins locker room. The unwritten code of football is that you handle your business in-house. Any one of these men could have said something to stop Incognito and help Martin. Any one of them could have handled it. They’re warriors, right? They’re paragons of strength. And yeah, there are complex reasons why they didn’t. But they didn’t.

    (Emphasis added to point out the very best question to be asking.) Go read the whole thing. It’s brutally on target, and if I were a coach (like that will ever happen!), I’d read it out loud to my team.

    Then have the biggest most badass veteran read it out loud to my team.

    Then I’d have the scrawny little kicker read it out loud to my team.

    Then I’d have my wife read it out loud to my team.

    Teams do not act the way the Rotting Fish have acted. Street gangs act this way. Goldman Sachs executives act this way. Insecure fascist dictators act this way.

    Teams — real teams, that is — do not.

  17. Peterr says:

    The Pac is simply a lot better conference than the B1G now . . .

    I think the Arizona heat is getting to you, bmaz.

    Head to head, the two conferences have split their games, with the Fighting Journalists and Ohio State both beating Cal and UCLA trouncing Nebraska and the refs allowing ASU to steal their game against Wisconsin on the final play.

    And if the PacWhatever folks saw fit to reprimand the officials for that game, it’s not just some sour grapes from a B1G alum.

  18. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @Peterr: If Ohio State is the best team in the Big 10 which of Stanford or Oregon could they beat? The answer is neither. Ohio State would be a fourth place, possibly third place team in the PAC.

  19. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @bmaz: Yea, they did look good on defense which is why I suspect they may be the overall best team in the country. Like you said, I think their lack of size on defense may make them a little susceptible to a power attack like Alabama or Stanford but they counter that with apparently being able to put up 40 or 50 points on anybody. Can a power type team hold them down enough to beat them? I doubt we ever know since I don’t think they’ll be given the chance.

    Of course, Stanford held down Oregon so I suppose it’s possible plus they still have a couple tough games coming up they have to win.

  20. Seedee Vee says:

    If any of you think football is any better than Gladiator Contests . . . . . . I just have to laugh at you guys today.

    bmaz — “You ought take a good hard look in the mirror before you make those accusations of others bubba.”

    Coming from the person using the dog whistle “thug life” and glorifying the children’s game of football? Football? Really? It’s a dumb-ass game, played professionally by unnatural freaks, for our entertainment.

    Football is a reflection of us. Your “ooze” is going the wrong way. All of our best and worst concentrates in our entertainment. Look in your mirror if you want to see the face of delusion. Football is entertainment. Are you entertained yet? Can you stop with the “trash talk”? No, you are not done yet . . . .

  21. P J Evans says:

    @Seedee Vee:
    A ‘sport’ that damages people to the point where they kill themselves to get relief is not entertainment. It isn’t a sport, either. (This applies also to boxing.)

    Look in your mirror. You’re a good bad example of what that attitude does to people.

  22. bmaz says:

    @Seedee Vee: YOU started with the duplicitous racial insinuations about what I wrote. I just called you out on you asinine implication. We can do without that just fine. Take that crap somewhere else.

  23. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: Y’all in the B1G have always had a hard time accepting the fact that the Pac has relentlessly whipped you over the years. Your two greatest coaches are Bo and Woody. Check their records in the Rose Bowl. Oops, not much has changed, the Pac is still the king!

  24. Jim White says:

    Alrighty then. Gators go down at home, 34-17 to Vandy. Last time they lost at home to Vandy was 1945. Only a matter of time now until Muschamp is history.

  25. Peterr says:

    Much to Mrs Dr Peter’s chagrin, the Wolvereenies seemed to have figured something out during halftime, as they got more offensive production in their first drive of the second half as Nebraska allowed them during the entire first half.

  26. JohnT says:

    The Pac is simply a lot better conference than the B1G now and, top to bottom, may well be better than the SEC.

    It’s been that way for awhile. I could try to google that link I gave a few years ago from a SEC fan message board that showed how well that statement was true. But I’m too lazy today to look it up, and it included head to head matchups. The problem with most people not seeing it is East Coast bias, and the four letter network ass kissing of everything SEC

    And …

    Baylor left a mark on the Sooners and the Vikings beat the hapless Redskins

    Let me just repeat that

    The Vikings win. The Vikings win. THE Viiiiiikings win! ;-) (kinda like finding a $20 bill on the ground, you might expect to see a dime or quarter, but a 20? that’s a reason to celebrate)

    PS about Incognito? Something about him says ‘witness protection’ to me. Not that he should go into wp, but that he grew up in it. Dunno anything about him and don’t care, but I have a scene in my minds eye where a mafia mook from back in the day gets caught by the feds and they offer him a deal to turn on Jimmy ‘the Weasel’, or Frankie ‘No Nose’, or whoever. And as a joke, when they change his name … it’s to Incognito. And that guy was Incognito’s dad or grandpa.

  27. ess emm says:

    Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen drew the first game of their 12-game match for the World Chess Championship. Carlsen texted Anand after the game threatening to grease the board with Vishy’s guts and then plunder the country like he was the East India Company.

    Because that’s what men do.

  28. stephen dossick says:

    Lifetime Dolphins fan/former Gator. In season I read Fins news daily and go to the NYC Dolphins bar on Sundays because i can’t get Direct TV in my building. I view this as a character flaw as these guys all have some degree of brain damage, and they are trying to knock each other senseless or worse.

    When the story broke I went ballistic. I already wanted Ireland, Philbin and Sherman gone since game 5 for football reasons, but now you could just shoot them. Wanted Incognito in jail for extortion. Then I heard what the guys who were in the locker room and former linemen from last year said. And I listened to the incriminating “half N word” tape. The language is deplorable, but it’s intended to be a Belushi-like over the top as offensive as possible joke with Incognito reading it and breaking up laughing. Martin reportedly played it for the team laughing at it himself. Tannehill and Hartline are about as far from thugs as you can find in the NFL. Philbin, while not my choice for coach, appears to me to be as honorable a man as you’ll find in the league. I believe them if they say they didn’t see any particular harassment of Martin and thought he and Incognito were good friends. In the days after Martin was moved to R tackle, I read an interview with him where his comments about the move made me think he was having a very difficult time with the change and was possibly clinically depressed. I think his reasons for snapping had to do with more factors than a lunch room prank that he participated in towards others many times.

    I don’t think hazing should exist anywhere, and Incognito is a special pig. We will find out what happened and who did what (Pouncey?), but the players on the team, not all the retired commenters on ESPN, but the Fins themselves have a point–he should have dealt with this directly, and they are not saying that that involves punching Incognito but rather tell someone, ask for a trade, whatever. Martin was exceptionally prized by management, Incognito was not and was gone after this season anyway. Don’t hurt the entire team and drag down all the people who gave you enormous support which many of them and especially Philbin did. I suspect the locker room isn’t much different than what we saw on Hard Knocks last season. It was young, good natured and far from gangsta.

  29. bmaz says:

    Wowza. Lame as hell, but ASU comes back in the 4th Quarter and pulls out a 20-19 win at Utah. Crikey, that was way too close. Deserved to lose.

  30. dakine01 says:

    @Peterr: Heh. The ‘Toppers went 2 – 0 against the service academies this year (beat Navy at home back in September 19 – 7) Too bad we don’t have the AFA on the schedule – then we could go 3 – 0 against the academies…

  31. Bay State Librul says:

    Talking about what’s wrong with football…

    Why don’t they take the filthy lucre and put it into scholarships for students (education) rather than the hands of football phenoms (capitalism)?

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A lawsuit brought by college athletes seeking television and videogame revenue can move forward, a U.S. judge has ruled, in a case that seeks to reshape traditional notions of sports amateurism in the United States.

    In a decision on Friday, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, California, ruled that a group of players could sue the National Collegiate Athletic Association as a class action, in an effort to change rules that bar athletes from earning money on their images. However, she also ruled that athletes could not seek money damages for financial losses they suffered in the past.

    The lawsuit takes on the highly lucrative business of college athletics, where universities reap billions of dollars from men’s football and basketball, but players are not allowed to profit.

    Filed in 2009, the case seeks to create a new system where broadcasting and videogame revenue would go into a fund. Players would not get a cut of it while they were actively playing, but they would get money after they were no longer NCAA-eligible, said Sathya Gosselin, an attorney for the athletes.

    “The NCAA has long decried this litigation as threatening college sports as we know it, when in fact the relief sought here is narrow,” Gosselin said.

    Representatives for the NCAA were not available to comment

  32. Frank33 says:

    I am shocked and startled. How do we tell the children?

    According to two unnamed sources who spoke with Jason Cole of National Football Post, Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, who has been suspended by the team for his role in the alleged bullying of Martin, held meetings for the team’s offensive lineman at a strip club and mocked players unwilling to attend.

    What the frack! And now Golf has to be dragged into this.

  33. tjallen says:

    Bmaz, nothing on the World Chess Championship? Shame!

    For the next month, 22 year-old Norwegian challenger Magnus Carlsen (of 60 Minutes fame) plays 44 year-old Indian World Champion Vishwanathan Anand in a twelve game match for the FIDE World Chess Championship.

    Carlsen, a chess prodigy and the highest rated player in the world by a significant margin, is expected to defeat the aging Anand handily. But I wouldn’t place bets on Carlsen yet – he’s young and Anand has immense match experience, being a five-times defending world champion, defeating Kramnik, Gelfand and Topalov over the past ten years. Matches in recent years are shorter, and opening preparation, one of the few places Anand may have some advantage, is more important in short matches. The match will be close.

    Added: the first two games were drawn.

  34. tjallen says:

    One punishment to the Dolphins and teammates is not having Martin’s services. He was a starter. Do you suppose Martin, in withholding his services, is now in breach of contract and open to lawsuits from the Dolphins? Will the Commish be able to order him back on the field?

    How difficult is it for Martin to offer his services to some other NFL team? When I don’t like my employer, I am at-will to change to a competitor or to another field, but is Martin restricted? Probably. So what options are open to him legally?

  35. Frank33 says:


    So what options are open to him legally?

    He is going to go to Law School. If he goes to Harvard he will be a 4th generation graduate in his family. Plus he could become a rich and powerful attorney, like Eric Holder.

    Incognito could join the Army.

  36. P J Evans says:

    Incognito now claims Martin sent him a threatening message via Twitter. I’m surprised it took him so long to get to CYA.

  37. bmaz says:

    @P J Evans: Incognito has also shown evidence, verified by CBS, of 1,100 texts between the two, including one from Martin after he left the team (to the effect Incognito was not the real problem). Incognito did some wrong stuff here, but the focal point should be the culture, as opposed to Incognito personally, from all appearances.

  38. Valley Girl says:


    Nomolos, been thinking about this issue. I don’t know if you’ve ever said, but I’m thinking you are in GB. I actually was thinking about rugby during a somewhat light hearted detour in discussion on Marcy’s last post re: “Morgan Jones”.

    selected comments:

    summary- detour into Welsh names, where I responded to Marcy, saying that as she was of the rugby trade, I was sure she knew Welsh names, “from the days when Wales was a rugby power”. Got corrected on that by Bevin. As in when! was!. Wales (rugby union) is back at the top of their game. I was showing my age. Asked if bevin had seen games at Cardiff Arms Park. It is no longer- again showing my age.

    Lived in England for 10 years (long ago) with a Welsh boyfriend who had season tickets to rugby games at Cardiff Arms Park, b/c he had a “debenture”. Went with him to most all matches there. What really struck me (apart from the thrill of hearing xx thousand Welshmen sing the Welsh national anthem) was the way the crowd behaved. No booing if the other side made a good play, in fact, appreciative applause. No ugly threats, etc. etc. A total contrast to what I’d become familiar with in the US for big time sports.

    No idea if this (long ago) was unique to the Welsh and Cardiff Arms Park. (Way different from soccer hooligans of course). No idea if this spirit continues there, and how it was and is in other rugby venues. But, Nomolos, I’d be very interested in your comments, b/c crowd behavior and locker room behaviour might be all of a piece.

  39. Valley Girl says:

    And, Nomolos and Bevin, if you are reading this thread:

    Article by JPR Williams, one of the GREATS.
    Six Nations 2013: England were beaten moment Welsh National Anthem was sung in the Millenium Stadium

    ~ I was in tears when I heard the nation deliver the most rousing pre match rendition of Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau that I have ever heard.

    It must have been so intimidating for an England side, many of whom had never played here before. They fell apart. ~

  40. bmaz says:

    Packers are in trouble. Seneca Wallace out with a groin injury. JR Tolkein in at QB and “Emergency QB”, also known as fullback Jon Kuhn, is trying to learn plays.

  41. Seedee Vee says:

    @P J Evans: Suicide is not limited to football playing entertainers.

    I hear John Steinbeck committed suicide because he was so distraught over boosting Oklahoma Football.

  42. Seedee Vee says:

    @bmaz: “The Dolphin Code: NFL Gangsta in Miami” — I am pretty sure you wrote this piece first. A piece based on “duplicitous racial insinuations about what” Incognito said and did with his teammates.

    There is nothing duplicitous at all about calling you out on using the “Gangsta” and “thug” label. Those are – entirely – racially loaded terms. And you used it more than once.

    Unless you are demanding the free pass of the hypocrite.

    Then, whatever.

  43. bmaz says:

    @Seedee Vee: Get lost. I described in the post the facts as they were known. YOU then stooped to slide in this:

    “Some people might think you are complaining about how “black” all the players are.”

    No jerko, “some” people would NOT think that. Only an ass trying to stir in racial insinuations and allegations where they do not exist would think or say that. If you continue down this road, you are done. We have no need for that bullshit here.

  44. JohnT says:

    @Seedee Vee:

    I’m prolly not sophisticated enough to understand, but are you implying that bmaz is racist because he used those terms?

    He also used Colonel Jessup as a reference, does that mean he’s also a closeted right wing gung ho commie killin hippie hatin Marine Corp officer wannabe? (nothing against the Marines; my Dad was a Marine in WWII)

    And then there’s the fact that Incognito is white further confuses me as to your point

    But like I said, I’m prolly not sophisticated enough to understand

  45. marc says:

    These kinds of lawsuits are hard to prove but there is a reason most companies have zero tolerance policies. Discovery in court will produce so much horrible publicity that few organizations will risk their reputations.

  46. JohnT says:

    @bmaz: Forgot that, thanks

    Yea, John Wayne looked like my Dad (not the other way around). He didn’t play a Marine in the movies, he was an actual WWII Marine. And, if you’ve ever watched The Great Santini, it was like a documentary of our family (they even had a blue ’55 Chevy station wagon). He was just about every John Wayne character, and Robert Duvall from the Great Santini personified. That said, even though he was literally old school, and a recovering alcoholic, he was evolving later in life. And I think he’d say Incognito is a punk and a bully

  47. bmaz says:

    @marc: I agree. Almost went into that discussion, but the post was long enough already. You would think the NFL and NFLPA might want to head a lot of this off at the pass by affirmatively instigating some rules and policies from here on out. That is precisely why on Twitter I have termed this more of a policy issue than a likely legal one.

  48. P J Evans says:

    I was just reading about some of the other things going on with the not-Fish. Apparently there was an incident where Incognito sexually harassed a woman at a golf club – she filed a police report, but there was a settlement. The team doesn’t seem to have done anything to punish him, and did nothing when he was holding team meetings at a strip club and fining players who, for whatever reason, weren’t there. (The coach, who should have spoken, was silent on it.)

  49. tjallen says:

    Rules and policies for workplace safety and conduct already exist and are applied nationwide. No need for the Dolphins or the NFL to make up new ones. It’s the law.

  50. rosalind says:

    what the frak?! off the grid all day and come home to Colts 8, St. Louis 38?!

    expected to read Luck got carted off the field in the first quarter, but no, appears they just got their butts whipped.


  51. stephen dossick says:


    Martin has had a very hard year. The offensive line has been about the worst in football largely because of him and RT Clabo with Tannehill on course to set a new record for being sacked. Worrying about the consequences to Tannehill, local press has talked about how David Carr’s career was destroyed by enduring the current record for sacks in a season. When his best friend Incognito texted him re the bullying charges from ‘Martin’s camp’ he said it wasn’t coming from him, but by then someone–his agent or parents–got him Alex Rodriguez’s Biogenesis lawyer and the rest is history. The culture, the habits, the language used among most players are extreme, but the game is beyond extreme. MASH mentality. You ought to hear the shit that gets said late at night at a Harvard Hospital emergency room.

    The media loves the story. Even a 6’5″ 320 lb ‘gladiator’ can be a victim of bullying. And there’s racism in an NFL locker room! If the team including the 80+% black players say they didn’t see Incognito bully Martin and having lived with and depended upon him that he’s not a racist, then damn all of them. I bet right now Martin wishes he could have a do over. As of this morning, Ritchie still wants to give him a hug for all they’ve been through.

    Where’s Oprah?

  52. bmaz says:

    @stephen dossick: Yes, this is all exactly why I think all the talk about litigation is just that – talk. Think it would be extremely difficult to get through to a jury verdict, and I think there is likely a ton of, frankly, in relative perspective, mitigating information out there.

    But, the NFL should take the opportunity to clean up their workplaces a little here. This is perfect cover for something that would actually give them positive public relations.

  53. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: On sports radio this morning (a nationally syndicated show), there was a HS football trainer who called in, saying he had 40 years of experience as a trainer at peewee, HS, and college levels. He viewed this whole thing in terms of abuse, and noted the pressures on the rest of the team to “get along” and not rock the boat for fear of the bully’s wrath being turned on them.

    As a pastor, the group dynamics here are sadly familiar. The players (and some coaches) speak of this as a cultural thing, which is absolutely true as a description of the NFL world. The next question, however, is the critical one: is this a culture that is healthy, or is this an unhealthy culture?

    To me, the Dolphins locker room is profoundly unhealthy. Leaving aside legal questions of abuse and harassment, the notion of “building community” by verbally abusing and physically confronting YOUR TEAMMATES is more than slightly antithetical to the meaning of the word “team.” Veterans demanding upwards of 10% of a rookie’s salary for a single meal is not “team building” but the powerful taking advantage of the vulnerable.

    It is, in a word, sick.

  54. stephen dossick says:


    Can Richie sue Jonathan for all the times Jonathan called him the N word or threatened to kill him or his family in those 1100 text messages? They talk to each other with threats and vulgarity as a form of intimacy.

  55. Bay State Librul says:


    Don’t worry we’ve got the best legal minds in on the hunt:

    Batting cleanup for the NFL, Mr Ted Wells, ex-Scooter Libby lawyer.

    We will have this case wrapped up in about three years.

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