RUSH: This going on with the Miami Dolphins, I have to be very, very, very careful here, because I think we are looking at an example of the changing culture of masculinity in this country. Now, I could be wrong about that because we’re still learning details about the incident. The question at first is: “Is anything that’s happened here in the Dolphins locker room anything new? Is it different from anything that’s ever happened in an NFL locker room before?”
That’s, I guess, an open-ended question.
When I first heard of this story — and it’s a week or so old now — I purposely didn’t comment on it ’cause the original reports on it were really vague, and they had (as usual) the liberal sportswriter interpretation of what wasn’t known. So I said, “Rush, back off of this and be patient. Let more news come out,” and the first thing I had heard was that a rookie offensive lineman was being bullied by a veteran offensive lineman.
The rookie’s name is Jonathan Martin. The veteran is Richie Incognito, who comes to this story with a prior reputation of being a bad guy. He’s tough, no nonsense, long accused of dirty tactics during the game — dirty tactics on field and racy, dirty tactics off field. I don’t know specifics, but that was the line. Again, I don’t know whether it was earned or not. I don’t know Richie Incognito. I so little trust what I see in the mainstream media anymore, the legacy media, the Drive-Bys, that now I just sit around and wait.
But the first thing that intrigued me was, how in the world do you have “bullying” in an NFL locker room? How in the world does a 315-pound guy get bullied by a 265- or 280-pound guy? Jonathan Martin is a tackle. He’s bigger than Incognito, who’s a guard. They’re both big. It’s maybe inconsequential, the size difference. The bullying then was reported as actually not bullying. It’s more like harassment or hazing, is what the subsequent report said.
But there were no details of the bullying because nobody was being specific, and Martin — the rookie lineman making the allegations — was not talking, and it turns out he wasn’t because he feared retribution if he spoke out. Well, there was an incident that happened in the team cafeteria after he had gone public with the fact that he was being mistreated somehow. At lunch one day, he sat down the team cafeteria and everybody else at the table got up and left.
Because they thought he was a back stabber and a tattletale and a whiner or whatever, and that was the last straw for him. He threw his food on the floor and left the team. There were immediate calls for official investigation on the part of the head coach, Joe Philbin, and the league office. Now, the latest is that Jonathan Martin, the rookie, was being forced — you can say bullied or harassed or hazed or whatever.
The bottom line is that the latest allegation is that Incognito and the veterans forced this guy to fork over $15,000 for an offensive lineman getaway to Las Vegas, and the guy forked it over but didn’t go. He didn’t accompany his linemen mates. This kind of thing kept up, and then now we’re being told that there are texts and e-mails from Incognito to Jonathan Martin — who is black, by the way. Incognito is not black, Jonathan Martin is, and the texts and the e-mails have racially insulting language, racially insulting overtones.
The Dolphins made three announcements yesterday. The last one was at 11:30 last night in which they said that Incognito has been sent home and suspended indefinitely in lieu of an investigation into what was going on here. Now, there are a few more details, but that pretty much sums it up — and, you know, as a veteran fan of football, and as someone who’s been in locker rooms (not as a member, but I haven’t seen much). Although let me… Gosh, should I say this or not?
I’ve undergone my own hazing in a locker room, and it was brutal. I mean, it was. I can’t repeat to you some of the things said to me when I was a little grunt at the Kansas City Royals, and it’s just the way it is. I didn’t see other players get hazed, but it happened, and I just… I don’t know if this incident… For example, for those of you that don’t know, in training camp every summer, it is routine/standard operating procedure/tradition that the rookies carry the veterans’ shoulder pads and helmets back to the locker room after every workout.
The veterans really lay it on the rookies. The stories about the rookies having to stand up and sing their college fight song, those are all true. Some rookies refuse to do it, and Dez Bryant (this so-called problem player with the Cowboys, if you’ll recall), didn’t know about any of these traditions. He came out of Oklahoma City, his first training camp with the Cowboys. The veteran wide receiver Roy Williams said, “Okay, rook. Take my pads in and my helmet,” and Bryant said, “Screw you! Take your own pads,” and it was big news in the sports media.
It turned out Roy Williams didn’t do anything about it. He let it go. Dez Bryant got away with not being hazed. It’s an individual thing. Some players do it, and pay the price of being a rookie, and others (rarely, but it does happen) put their feet and say, “To hell with you! I’m not doing any of this garbage. I’m on the team, too.” So this incident, when it first came out, the first thing that I tried to figure out was, “Well, what in the world…? How does an NFL player get bullied?”
Now, there have been other former players that are now commentators who have talked about this and said what this Martin guy needed to do was punch Incognito in the face and end this. You just don’t take that kind of stuff, and that is the old way of doing things, but the new way is not. You got Conflict Resolution 101. You got negotiation, people sitting down, hammering out their differences and trying to feel good and feel better. I just wonder how much of this is a factor of cultural change and the new culture of diminishing masculinity.
There could be none of that. I don’t know. Look, rookies have been forced to take the veterans out to dinner forever and blow four figures on dinner and Courvoisier. I’m reading a book on the Steelers, the dynasty of the Steelers, by Gary Pomerantz. It’s called “Their Life’s Work.” It’s about the Steelers of the seventies, and there’s intimate stuff about what went on in that locker room and the caste system that existed in there. None of this is really new. What’s new is the word “bullying” attached to it.
Because there’s always been hazing, and some of the hazing has always been bad. Some of it’s terrible. There’s always been harassment, and there are always bad actors. There are always people meaner than others. What’s new to me is how it is being reacted to and dealt with. Now, the racial aspect, that’s unacceptable and that does make this something that sets it apart, if it indeed happened. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that’s common.
That’s not part of it and that’s not something where you just… But players, what’s news about this is that this player has walked out. He’s left the team. That, you just don’t hear about. (interruption) Well, no, he went home. His family is in Los Angeles. Jonathan Martin went home to Los Angeles. The Dolphins still have his rights. I don’t know where the guy goes next. I don’t know what happens to anybody. Again, I’m saying all this to you but all I know is what anybody else knows about what has been reported.
I’m telling you: That, I’m also suspicious of, just by design and by tradition, but the Miami Herald story on this, “Miami Dolphins Rookie’s Pushed to Pay Up — Jonathan Martin’s representatives have notified the Miami Dolphins about allegations of player misconduct within the locker room, spurring the team to ask the NFL to launch an independent inquiry Sunday, and then announcing the indefinite suspension of offensive lineman Richie Incognito.
“‘We are taking these allegations very seriously and plan to review the matter further,’ the Dolphins said. ‘…?As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another.’ The announcements came late on a busy Sunday, in which new details of the alleged abuse suffered by Martin came to light, and in which a potential new controversy was just beginning.
“The latest twist: Young Dolphins players are under pressure to dig deep into their pockets to pay for veterans’ social outings, a practice that is straining their finances and locker room chemistry, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. These allegations come on the heels of an ESPN report Sunday morning that Incognito pressured Martin into paying $15,000 for an unofficial team vacation to Las Vegas — a trip that Martin, an offensive tackle, didn’t even join. The Dolphins said Sunday night they suspended Incognito indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.”
A lot of people said, “Where was the head coach in this?” Well, if you read Pomerantz’s book, Their Life’s Work, you find out that, at least in the case of the Steelers of the seventies, Chuck Noll, he didn’t like dealing with any of this stuff so he had leaders in the clubhouse who kept it in line. The clubhouse, an NFL team, remember, there’s 53 people in there, and it is its own culture like any other group of 53. It’s its own culture, has its own hierarchy, has its big clique. It has its ins and outs. Everything that you’ll find in any group of people, and it has to have leaders and people that keep it cohesive.
You know, the best thing that can happen for cohesion is winning. The Dolphins are 4-4. They haven’t been winning. They’ve been playing well lately, and they’ve had their moments, but in most cases a lot of head coaches farm this kind of police work out to the veterans, and they depend on them to be the policeman of the locker room. Then if those guys end up being bad apples, like might be the case here, then that breaks down, as it may have here with the Dolphins. But there’s a lot in this that’s new. And I’ve been fascinated to read the comments on various websites where this story’s being reported. ‘Cause you know me, folks, I study cultural evolution and what I think sometimes is cultural decay or cultural rot, and I do believe that there is — this may not be an example of it, I really don’t know enough, but my antennae are up.
I really do believe that there is an attack, assault, or just that masculinity isn’t hip in our culture. Everything we do is geared for the female vote, the female fan, or the female customer, the female this. And something has to give in that circumstance. And you look at news, divisions of networks and newspapers. You look at college enrollment and graduation, all of these things dominated by women now, and women have their own culture. Men and women are different. They’re born that way, actually. You may not know that. That surprised TIME Magazine in 1995. So much so they did a cover story on that fact, that men and women are different.
So in light of my belief that there is an attack, assault, maybe those words are too strong, but there’s something — you know, masculinity ain’t hip. Masculinity isn’t cool. Metrosexual and that stuff is. Masculinity is brutish, it’s predatory, it’s all kinds of rotten, bad stuff, mean. The other kind of men aren’t. But in this story, I have never, ever in my life heard of players in a locker room being bullied. I’ve heard of clubhouse attendants being bullied. You know, club house people that don’t wear the uniform, not players, I’ve heard of them being bullied and harassed, but not players. That’s a new one. Not harassed or hazed, but the word “bully” was something new. And of course bully has political ramifications in our culture today, as you and I well know. So we’ll wait and see what further pops up on this.
RUSH: This is unbelievable. Just now on CNN they had some typical left-wing sportswriter talking, “Oh, yeah, bullying in the NFL takes the form of a rookie tax.” And that’s a player being forced to spend 15 grand for the offensive linemen to go to Vegas, a rookie tax. So they’re politicizing this in a sense, at least in the way that they’re trying to convey what this is. But I’m telling you, folks, there’s still way too much that we don’t know about this to be able to arrive at an informed opinion on this. There’s still too much that we don’t know on this Dolphins thing. ‘Cause I don’t know how you bully a 320-pound, six five offensive tackle.