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 Locker room culture under scrutiny in wake of Martin-Incogni 
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Post Locker room culture under scrutiny in wake of Martin-Incogni
November 8, 2013 1:48 pm ET

Jason La Canfora
CBS Sports NFL Insider

The more I think about the way the Miami Dolphins locker room reacted to the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito situation, the less surprising it seems. On the surface one might think their sweeping approval of Incognito, the accused, and relative disdain for Martin, the accuser, is counterintuitive, but I believe it's actually just the opposite.

Despite the varying accounts of these men, their complicated relationship and how seemingly at odds they are -- with Martin's claims of abuse or possible bullying opposite what his teammates say was the case -- perhaps there is an underlying truth that manages to account for that dichotomy. This topic is shaded deeply in gray, with very little in black and white, and facts, as they were, in short supply. Yet somehow, in the paradigm of an NFL locker room, could the perceptions of both Martin and the men he works with be grounded in versions of the truth all actually believe? ...

On Saturday night, well after Martin had departed, and only after, I'm told, he resisted any attempts to open up about specific incidents that preceded his exodus, Martin relented and let his mother see and hear some of what we later learned was on his phone. After confiding in her, that information was turned over to the Dolphins on Sunday through Martin's representatives.

There are so many more questions than answers, and we might never truly know everything that went on between Martin and Incognito, especially in private exchanges with this a he-said/he-said. Add the fact that Dolphins players are clearly rallying behind Incognito, and none of us are privy to the private thoughts of either player or any intent of their words (whether meant to be humorous or ominous). Nor do we know what else may have been going on in Martin's life, personal or otherwise, that perhaps could have caused him to be in an emotional state where things that might be relatively mundane by NFL standards of indoctrination may have produced a far greater impact on him. ...

In reality, Martin tried to do anything but, telling Incognito via text last week it was his problem, and not the team's, trying not to blame others (those texts were shared by Incognito with You could make the case he went to lengths to try not to break the code -- getting counseling, going home, not naming names, only eventually telling his mother of what went on over the weekend, as those close to him tried to understand the depth of the situation themselves. ...

And, furthermore, as far as they had all seen, it's not like Incognito was doing anything to Martin that much different than anyone else. That's just how it is with offensive linemen. It's a tough position and respect is won grudgingly and it has been that way forever in the NFL. Guys don't just go running back to their mothers, and, if they do, then that's on them, not us. They didn't belong anyway. They couldn't cut it. ...

I get all of it. I do. Those Dolphins players have families to support and they do it by playing football and winning games. They're in the playoff hunt, coming off their biggest win of the season, and none of them asked for all of these distractions. The reality is their locker room may not be all that different than most, and it will be up to the NFL and its lawyer Ted Wells to decide if the coaches and front office were negligent or complicit in any of this, if in fact the men in charge were at fault and should have known more and should have done more.

And when viewed within the NFL prism, this locker-room code has for years served to toughen guys up, get them ready for battle. In that way, it works. The truth is most fans don't or won't want to really know how this sausage gets made --...

Could Incognito have sincerely believed he had Martin's best interests at heart, viewing him as a wayward little brother who needed to be shown how to survive in this uber-macho world and taking him under his wing in the only way he knows how? Could he somehow have managed, through over-exuberance in that role and not actual malice, to make Martin's NFL experience infinitely more complicated? Was he unaware of whatever else Martin might be dealing with, and the timing of his brand of mentoring and Martin's inner turmoil conspired to produce a perfectly devastating emotional storm?

Could it be that simple, and yet just that complicated? Or is it much more nefarious, from one party or another? And, NFL investigation or not, will we ever truly know? ... ... nito-flap-

Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:39 pm
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Post Re: Locker room culture under scrutiny in wake of Martin-Incogni
It will be interesting to know why Martin finally relented. The allegation of some that it's his parents who are driving this and seeing more into it than might be there might just be the truth. If it is and that's all it is, I hope Martin comes out and puts an end to this.

There, I said it. Happy?


Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:42 pm
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Post Re: Locker room culture under scrutiny in wake of Martin-Incogni
The part about him relenting to his mother is certainly new.

I think the discussion of separate worlds existing is the most interesting part.

Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:48 am
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