John Rocker, a Major League Baseball pitcher for six years, is the author of "Scars and Strikes." After retiring from baseball, Rocker embarked upon a successful career in real estate development.More ↓Less ↑
The wussification of America continued unabated last week as the media exploded over the story of Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin’s alleged “bullying” at the hands of teammate and fellow lineman Richie Incognito.
According to media reports, Martin was subjected to “threatening” voice mails, had to pay for rookie meals and had to suffer with the nickname “Big Weirdo.” The media, in its typical tabloid form, exploited this situation as one of dire, life-threatening circumstance and fired up the band in usual fashion, playing an encore of its tireless tune “Let’s Make Something Out of Nothing.”
Ever since it was revealed that one of Incognito’s voice mails contained the N-word, the media have set their eyes on hounding the lineman incessantly. Due to the media firestorm surrounding this alleged bullying, Incognito has been suspended by the Miami Dolphins indefinitely and has now become the poster child for bullying in America.
As with most stories the American media blow fashionably out of proportion, there are some angles to this story they have conveniently overlooked and refused to consider. For one, the rest of the Dolphin team has banded together to defend the actions of Incognito against the relentless media assault he has faced. One of his fellow teammates even pointed out the fact that Martin laughed hysterically at the voice mail that contained the N-word Incognito left for him, noting that it was clearly meant as a joke.
Teammates also noted that Incognito acted as a mentor to Martin and was the closest player to Martin on the team. They said that he showed Martin the ropes, and Incognito took it upon himself to make sure that Martin integrated well with the rest of his teammates. They also disputed the fictitious notion that Incognito poisoned the locker room and considered him instead an essential element in keeping the team together.
Incognito also came out this week to defend himself and gave an articulate interview with the Fox Sports Network to make his case. He also reinforced the claim that his supposed “bullying” was done in jest and that he considered Martin a dear friend. He also revealed that he texted Martin a few days after he abruptly left the team and had a friendly conversation with him in which Martin expressed no ill will toward Incognito.
His media appearance also undermined the idea that Incognito is some brutish thug who was constantly angry and aggressive. Instead, he was well-spoken and gave a well formed explanation for his actions. He even apologized for the offending voice mail, something most sensible people could tell was in jest.
Even though the portraits coming from both his fellow Dolphins as well as himself should have made this case not-so black and white, the media, our self-appointed guardians of truth, are sticking to their original narrative. The executive editor at Slate perfectly summed up our media elite’s reaction to Incognito’s teammates standing up for him with this passage:
“I’ve never played in a pro football game. But I feel very comfortable saying that no amount of stress, and no amount of testosterone, can justify a system in which colleagues belittle each other in the crudest possible terms and are expected to work things out with a punch to the face. Rather than face up to a culture that breeds this kind of inhumanity, too many of the Miami Dolphins are blaming the victim. They should be blaming themselves.”
Notice the key phrase, “I’ve never played in a pro football game.” Now, I’ve never considered myself a smart man, but I am intelligent enough to understand that if one has never been a part of an atmosphere that creates certain circumstances and environmental nuances, then one should probably keep one’s mouth shut.
So as it would seem, getting a goofy nickname is now considered inhumane? It’s funny how media will work themselves into hysteria over what most normal people would consider guys just being guys, while ignoring actual racial abuse in the NFL when white players have come out numerous times over the years to share their stories of actual racial harassment and slurs being regularly directed at them simply because they are white. Not only did they receive harassment and abuse from their fellow players, but their careers may have been hampered by their race, as the best college programs and NFL teams regularly overlook white running backs and receivers just because of their skin color. (The NFL is more than two-thirds black, the NBA more than 80 percent black). I can count the number of white running backs and receivers in the NFL on one hand yet see annual propaganda promulgated by our “esteemed” media criticizing Major League Baseball for a supposed bias based on its lack of black players. Where is the same coverage for white athletes in the NFL and NBA?
Where is the outrage there?
That is another column for another day, however. Back to the Incognito fiasco, which is yet another obnoxious and equally absurd example of the ever-increasing feebleness of our American culture at the hands of the feeblest among us, our limp-wristed media.
“Bullying” in the NFL? Really? What will these third-grade, sniveling tattletales think of next? The last time I checked and spoke to any of my NFL friends, the entire league is based on bullying. Just watch a single quarter of a single game. The overwhelming majority of male sport simply boils down to primal mano y mano testosterone-filled dominance of one individual over another, and it’s been taking place since the days of the Roman Colosseum. That is just the way male sport is. Either show up or get out of the way lest you be run over. There are no two ways about it.
More often than not, the testosterone-infused “bullying” takes place on the field between two rival combatants. Other times it takes place between individuals on the same side of the fight in an effort to strengthen a weakest link. Whatever the case may be, if you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen – and if you’ve never been in the kitchen maybe you should let big boys solve their own problems, because you could never relate to what actually goes on in there.