So Jonathan Martin – the Miami Dolphin who was so tormented by teammates that he’s checked himself into a psychiatric facility – doesn’t want to return to the Dolphins. Gee, what a surprise.
This as we’re learning more about the teammates who abetted Richie Incognito in harassing him – John Jerry and Mike Pouncey. Apparently, Incognito, who’s been suspended, has tried to make nice with Martin while telling Pouncey that Martin is a snitch. It would all be so very high school if the abuse weren’t so striking and the reactions so distressing. Many posters on ESPN have called Martin a pussy, suggesting that his emotional fragility may make him a liability for any team. (The misogyny is palpable.) Apparently, an unwillingness to take any more racist and homophobic slurs, sexual remarks about your mother and sister or unwanted simulated sex acts makes you a wuss.
What’s wrong with these people? To hear some fans tell it, nothing. This is the culture of the locker room. (OK, the words “culture” and “locker room” shouldn’t be used in the same sentence.) And in that “culture,” it’s blame-the-victim time: Martin is a lifelong head case who never learned how to man up. But when you’re being bullied and the thought of going to work or school or coming home puts your stomach in knots, it’s hard to man up.
Yet who is the stronger, the man who takes and takes and takes it until he has no more to give, or the one who beats up on others to make himself feel good? Why isn’t the answer obvious?
In my second novel “In This Place You Hold Me,” in development now, New York Templars quarterback Quinn Novak experiences brutality on and off the field, so much so that he’s careful not to visit it on others. I blame not only the players but the coaches, GMs and owners who tolerate this outrageous, counterproductive behavior.
They’re the real pussies.