Mike’d Up: Bullying issues in Miami and church league suspension

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Michael Kowaleski

The bullying case in the Dolphins’ organization has spurred debate among the NFL and its fans.

Kelley: This situation becomes more interesting and increasingly stranger each day.

Reports emerged on Tuesday night saying Miami coaches instructed Richie Incognito to toughen up Jonathan Martin. Head coach Joe Philbin has maintained that he was unaware of the interactions between the two.

Unaware, huh? Unaware of a situation unfolding in your own locker room?

Dolphins’ players are rushing to the defense of Incognito who is now suspended indefinitely.

I believe much of this stems from the overall macho culture in the NFL. It is increasingly apparent you need a thick skin to survive.

What happens in an NFL locker room stays in the locker room, players say. Not so sure about that, especially after hearing the nature of some of these voicemails and messages, one that included the words, “I’ll kill you.”

Perhaps Martin overreacted. But most likely, this bullying and harassment went on for quite some time and was frankly accepted by the entire organization. It seemed to be a matter of not if but when Martin cracked.

 

Kowaleski: A lot about this situation is complex, Mike. Teammates have not only come to Incognito’s aid as a great teammate, but they’ve also decried the notion that Martin was “tormented” by the teasing.

Wide receiver Brian Hartline said that Martin was laughing and showing everyone those voicemails and messages the day after he received them. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said that they were the best of friends and that while Incognito ribbed Martin from time to time, he “always had his back.”

Martin also sent Incognito a text saying that he didn’t blame him.

As for the racial slurs that were used, they can honestly also be misinterpreted. While it may be hard for some to understand, I’ve definitely witnessed relationships where it’s okay for white guys to use the “n-word” as a term of endearment. I’m not saying it’s something that should be reflected in everyday society, but in some circles it’s actually accepted. This seems like one of those instances, and that’s been backed up by sources on the team.

So then, if this was all normal, what’s Martin’s problem? My theory is that he saw what was going on and, with his Stanford brain, realized how locker room bravado and lowbrow etiquette could be twisted into a lawsuit. He obviously isn’t happy playing football, and this is his way out—with dollar signs attached.

I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see any other explanation.

 

A freshman on the Colgate basketball team was disqualified for one full year for playing three games in a league at Dunwoody Baptist Church.

Kelley: Well, this kid got the short end of the stick. Man oh man. Apparently one member of this league said prior to one of the games, “If any of you have advice you could give me that would be great because I never played basketball before.”

The NCAA mandates that student-athletes who do not enroll in college within a year of graduating high school are not able to compete in organized competition. There is a one-year grace period in which you are able to compete in say a summer league. But instead of competing, he spent two years on a Mormon mission.

Upon returning from this mission, Harries was invited to participate in the church game due to a lack of available players and immediately accepted with the goal of getting back into playing shape.

Welp, that was a poor decision in hindsight. And the worst part is that this was self-reported information. I guess it’s safe to say that you keep everything to yourself when it comes to the NCAA.

 

Kowaleski: The NCAA continues to make a fool of itself year after year, Mike.

This non-violation violation reminds me of the Dez Bryant suspension issued by the National Collegiate Association of Asses after he lied about meeting Deion Sanders…which in itself wasn’t even a violation.

I get the black-and-white lens the NCAA is looking through, but come on. He was a sub. For a church league. Played mostly by old guys. Who didn’t know the sport. This is basically the equivalent of suspending him for playing a pickup game.

And let’s be honest, Colgate has a rough enough time at basketball without having to worry about their players suspended for playing in a church league. They’ve been in the bottom half of the Patriot League for the past five years, so this is my plea to the NCAA:

Cut the poor kids some slack, guys! They can use all the help they can get. Where’s the charity in your hearts?

Probably left it at the Raider freshman’s church league.