When the Miami Dolphins finished the 9th week of their 2013 season with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals, they were 4-4, sitting within arm’s reach of playoff contention and looking much improved after upgrading their head coach from the year before. They were also down an offensive tackle. Sophomore Jonathan Martin withdrew from the team on October 30 amidst word that he had been egregiously hazed by a teammate, veteran guard Richie Incognito.
Amidst all the posturing, the NFL pulled the trigger on an independent investigation to unearth what, exactly, had happened between Incognito and Martin, as well as what was going on inside the Dolphin’s locker room. Now, four months after Martin initially left the team, the details are starting to surface. They are unpleasant in their specifics.
Most absurd, perhaps, is the fact that Incognito kept a journal, detailing and leveling fines committed by players against the team. Read like that, it doesn’t sound too bad, but this was a journal that fined players for showing weakness, and on the day Martin left the squad, Incognito fined himself $200 for “breaking JMart.”
Naturally, Incognito doesn’t come off very well in the report, and the idea that this was all a friendly joke — the kind of locker room banter that’s the logical extension of jocks playing the dozens — doesn’t seem to apply at all. While most of the taunting is straight out of a high school locker room, Martin’s sister figures prominently into the jokes in all the ways you’d figure she would, and the lack of self-awareness is staggering. (Dolphins fans may be relieved to find out, though, that Incognito and his teammates had also joked about shooting incompetent general manager Jeff Ireland. Stay strong, Dolphins fans.)
Now, with rumors swirling that Martin would be willing to return to the Dolphins while Incognito is almost certainly off of the squad, perhaps the NFL can use this opportunity as a way to further underline what is and is not acceptable workplace behavior, even for football players. Maybe they can create a fine book of their own. For those curious, the entire report can be perused.