Time for football to join the rest of civilized society

This nation loves football, especially professional football. But it’s time for this nation to quit excusing a lot of bad, boorish behavior because “that’s football.”

The recent case of Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin has revealed an ugly side to football that the NFL should take steps to clean up.

Martin left the team a couple of weeks ago after suffering an emotional breakdown that his representative says was caused by bullying and harassment led by his teammate, Richie Incognito. Incognito, who was suspended by the Dolphins, reportedly sent texts and voice messages to Martin containing threats and racial slurs, apparently after his coaches asked him to help Martin “toughen up.” This story has exposed a culture of rookie hazing and harassment in the NFL that NFL players say is probably shocking to the average person, but is perfectly acceptable in the culture of the NFL?locker room.

The fact that so many players are expressing support for Incognito, and saying Martin violated some code by not “manning up” and confronting his persecutors makes it apparent they don’t understand what the rest of society seems to realize.

In other industries, human rights lawsuits are filed and won when workers are allowed to create a hostile work environment. No one should have to endure that kind of treatment to earn a paycheck, even if you are getting paid for putting on pads and helmets and bashing into other people.

The NFL took strong action against the New Orleans Saints when a “bounty system” for injuring opposing players was reveaed. It should be just as willing to protect players from their own teammates.


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