I’ve been following the story of Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito for the last week or so. Both men are players for the Miami Dolphins. Or were, rather, at this point. It seems that Mr. Incognito, who by all accounts is an angry racist white dude with a history of erratic and threatening behavior, had been harassing and humiliating Mr. Martin, who is in Mr. Incognito’s words a “half-n*gger,” as well as making threats directed at Mr. Martin’s family. Mr. Martin decided to leave the team (he was a starter) as a direct result of the harassment.
This has been a divisive issue as some people feel that Mr. Martin did the right thing and others deem him a punk or a “p*ssy.” These arguments seem based primarily on his weight/size and somewhat on the notion that football requires a level of mental fortitude that means you don’t take sh*t off of anyone.
Question 1: since when does being large equate with any mental capacity? Does Mr. Martin live in a cave?
Question 2: why is Mr. Incognito’s behavior largely being ignored? So, Mr. Martin is a punk, but all of these other burly strong and largely Black specimens just let a white dude holler the n-word whenever the mood strikes him? How is that gangsta/gladiator/alpha male behavior?
Question 3: who is to say that Mr. Martin wasn’t protecting his freedom and Mr. Incognito’s well-being by holding in his anger (as in, if I confront this fool I really might hurt him)?
The bottom line is that Mr. Martin did what he felt was necessary to get some resolution. It seems that the team and coaching staff would have been content for someone to have a mental break or get a broken back. Are people really so blind/bloodthirsty that they would rather hear about a tense situation ending any other way? Are Black people such fans of organized sports and big paychecks we aren’t receiving ourselves that we’ll support a white guy abusing a Black man in part because he is Black? And what in the world do calls for him to “take it like a man” mean? What does being a man have to do with enduring abuse?
Dr. Carla Rhodes is a Psychotherapist with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and based in the Washington, D.C area.
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