She Said: Man Down



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. 

*She Said/He Said is a weekly column on Clutch that will feature two sides to every story. If you’re a guy and you’d like to offer your opinion to this story email [email protected] with a response (between 400-500 words) and short bio. Every week, both sides of the story will be featured. If you have an opinion on a topic that you’d like to share and want to learn what the opposite sex thinks about it, follow the same instructions above!

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  • MimiLuvs

    I am “late to the party” in regards to this sad situation that happened.
    IMO, Martin is in the position where he’s d*mned if you do, d*mned if you don’t”.
    If Martin would’ve acted aggressively towards Incognito, then he would’ve probably been labeled as violent and prone to have violent fits. And we all know what happens to Martin, when he doesn’t “fight back”.
    Now, when it comes to the hazing, I am not privy to the activities that occur in that locker room, but I believe that I can assume that the hazing that does happen to “franchise players” are not bad. I doubt Incognito text messaged Reggie Bush and called him a “ni**er”.

    • Anthony

      @MimiLuvs, Martin is a second rounder and has been a started since he joined the team. Incognito may have been a bit jealous, but I really think the issue is that Martin is too much of a nerd or egghead. He is not the type of black man that other brothers will see as a “brotha,” the fact Martin was socially isolated would make him a prime target for a bully.

    • camille

      But why does he have to be a nerd or an egghead? He was harassed, and he took appropriate action. We need to hold people to higher standards of conduct and not regard the person with some sense and decorum as abnormal. In no other professional realm is it normal to terrorize and harass one’s coworkers. Clearly, there is a systemic problem in football that encourages bad behavior. Martin is an example that being a skilled football player has nothing to do with being an idiot and a jerk

    • Anthony

      @Camille, nerd or egghead is not a put down in my mind although I can see how it can look that way. I refer to myself as an egghead often.
      I guess I have made it a term of endearment in my mind. For what it means is worth, I am a PhD and a tenured professor by trade.

      In this context, more formal language would have made my point more clearly.

  • Aria Wilson

    Not sure why this was posted as a stand alone but…..This comment was intended as a response to “La’Jon” who thinks a white man calling someone a half-nigg** has to do with “class” and not his race.

  • Marisa

    I totally believe the report from ProFootballTalk that stated the Dolphins GM spoke to Jonathan’s agent who brought the issue of his treatment on the team and stated Jonathan should punch Beavis. This is GM Jeff Ireland who is more than known for saying asinine things, lets take a trip back to the 2010 pre draft interview starring Cowsboys WR Dez Bryant, one of the questions was rather Dez’s mom was a prostitute. The team already had that info that she was one as a young girl/woman but, Ireland felt the need to ask that offensive question as if that should disqualify a prospective pick. He got outted and had to apologize to Dez and his family, so there we have it folks the quality Dolphins leadership we have heard so much about.

  • after i heard that incognito was consider and ‘honorary’ black man i stopped reading……

  • i.mean.really.

    The reactions of some of Martin/Icognito’s teammates is not surprising to me. I’ve never thought that football players were the smartest people in the room (just look at how many of them end up broke or in jail for dumb sh*t). How does one become an honorary black person, anyway? If there’s an annual ceremony I’ve certainly missed it.

    I have so much respect for Martin, regardless of how much shade he’s getting from his “team.” He had enough sense to recognize that there was no good solution to an escalating situation. I’m glad that he kept the texts/voicemails, so there’s no denying the truth of the matter.