RUSH: This is Jim in North Carolina. Welcome, sir, to the EIB Network. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, mega dittos, Rush, how are you?
RUSH: I’m great. Thank you.
CALLER: Good. Hey, I know this is slightly off topic, but being born and raised in Pittsburgh and watching Ben get harassed over the last course of this year and before in the last, what do you think of Jonathan Martin, Mike Tomlin picking up the left tackle from the Miami Dolphins and bringing him up to Pittsburgh? What’s your take on that?
RUSH: You’re not serious?
RUSH: You’re calling here to stir things up. You really want my thoughts on whether or not the Steelers ought to try to get the guy who accused Incognito of bullying him?
CALLER: Yes. Because he was the second best on their line and he’s got, just like the coaches there said, they hate to see him go ’cause he had such a high ceiling.
RUSH: Yeah, one of the things I mentioned when the program began today, there has been a 180 on this. Everybody now, even the brothers, the brother analysts on ESPN have come out in favor of Incognito, done a 180. And this guy, Jonathan Martin, is being trashed all over the place now as somebody who walked out on the team; somebody who can’t take it; somebody who is a sissy. Well, not a sissy, but the words coming out, Ryan Tannehill, the quarterback, “I thought they were best friends. I don’t understand this.”
And then there’s this guy, I’ve got a story here that ran at MMQB.si.com, written by Lydon Murtha, a former member of the offensive line the Dolphins from 2009 to 2012. And it prints out to four or five pages and he starts out by saying: “I donÂ’t have a dog in this fight. I want that to be very clear. I played offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins from 2009 until the 2012.” But this is a biggest attaboy for Richie Incognito. He’s the greatest guy ever.
He said the only thing about this he doesn’t like is if Incognito used the N-word, that’s over top, but none of the rest of it is. That Incognito is one of the team leaders. They were trying to toughen this guy up. It’s common for offensive linemen to pay for dinner when they’re rookies. They all do it. He talks about how he was charged $9,600. It’s just the way it is. But there are a lot of people turning on this guy as a snitch.
Now, when I say the brothers on ESPN, not all the media has. There are some in the media who you can tell come right out of Conflict Resolution 101, who want lawyers in there and who want the NFL to have new regulations and a national monitor to come in and monitor the way people are treated, make sure their feelings aren’t hurt in the locker rooms, workplace violence and intimidation, there’s no room for that. In the media in this country, you can see, if you know how to read it, you can actually see the cultural rot taking place.
RUSH: I was kind of in a hurry ’cause time was diminishing, but, look, the Steelers or no other team could get Jonathan Martin. He’s a technically still a Dolphin. He’s still under contract with ’em. He walked out. He’s in LA. He apparently, before he went home to his family in LA, checked into a hospital for emotional distress. Something was going on in there. But it’s amazing, just in the last 24 hours, there has been a huge turn, shift.
Richie Incognito, two days ago, who was just Satan in all this, is now the good guy, best teammate, team leader, tough guy, way to get the team to play together. This is the guy that picks you up when you’re down in the dumps. This is the guy that gets the most out of you in practice and during the games. This is the guy that sets the pace, he’s a great leader. All this stuff is being said about Incognito now. It’s a marked difference.
I want to spend just a little time here on this story at MMQB.si.com. This is Peter King’s website. He used to be at Sports Illustrated and they gave him, as part of his new deal, his own website and gave him some reporters. He’s doing a lot of in-depth stuff about the game, the business of the game, and he’s got a piece here today by this Lydon Murtha, who played for the Dolphins from 2009 to 2012. He got out of the game ’cause of injuries.
In this piece, he is adamant that there’s no way Richie Incognito ever bullied Jonathan Martin, and this guy’s a guy that was there. And you got the quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, “I thought they were best friends. This is all news to me. I never saw any of this bullying.” But, remember, there are texts that they have and the N-word was used, and Mr. Murtha here says, “Now, that’s over the top, that’s not good. But the rest of this stuff, I don’t have a problem with it.”
He starts out by saying, “I don’t have a dog in this fight.” I wonder if Michael Vick does. Does anyone know what he thinks about this? Have you heard? You haven’t? He says, “I want to be very clear about that. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I played offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins from 2009 until the 2012 preseason, when I was released after tearing ligaments in my foot and injuring my back, both requiring surgery. I have since retired, and IÂ’m happily working in the auto industry and living outside of Miami. I went to college at Nebraska with Richie Incognito, and I consider myself friends with him and Jonathan Martin, but I donÂ’t speak with them regularly and IÂ’m not taking sides. IÂ’m only interested in the truth, which is what IÂ’m going to share.”
He goes on to talk about how there’s just no way that Incognito ever bullied Jonathan Martin. “From the beginning, when he was drafted in April 2012, Martin did not seem to want to be one of the group. He came off as standoffish and shy to the rest of the offensive linemen. He couldnÂ’t look anyone in the eye, which was puzzling for a football player at this level on a team full of grown-ass men. We all asked the same question: Why wonÂ’t he be open with us? WhatÂ’s with the wall being put up? I never really figured it out. He did something IÂ’d never seen before by balking at the idea of paying for a rookie dinner, which is a meal for a position group paid for by rookies. (For example, I paid $9,600 for one my rookie year.) I donÂ’t know if Martin ever ended up paying for one, as I was cut before seeing the outcome.”
He goes on, and it’s a piece that is in total defense, except for the N-word comment in the texts. And then Tannehill, about that, all these players are coming out saying, “Richie Incognito is not a racist. I don’t know what that is, but he’s not a racist. He’s an honorary brother, in fact.” Did you hear that? The brothers say that Incognito is an honorary brother. They said there’s a lot to being a brother besides skin color. It’s the way you carry yourself, it’s where you come from, it’s how you live and all that. I just find all this fascinating, ’cause I read the media on this stuff, and you can tell, folks, which media people come from a full-fledged left-wing kindergarten through college education.
You can just see it the way they react to this, the things they want done about it. Some central controlling authority must come in and lay down the law, and everyone must be respected and everyone must be loved. There must be total respect and acceptance for people. There can’t be any workplace bullying. There can’t be any making fun of people. There can’t be anything that makes anybody uncomfortable. We’re talking about football, for crying out loud.
You know, there are just certain things. I played for one year in high school, that’s not much, but it was enough to know what goes on. I was a sophomore. You’re a rookie, you’re dirt. It’s just the way it is. Talk to a buck private in the military at basic training, for crying out. It is how people are toughened up. It’s how you weed out people who can take it and who can’t. It is a man’s game. Football is a man’s game. It is meant to be played outside, in the elements, on grass and there’s nothing gentle about it.
Folks, I was in Houston once on the Rush to Excellence Tour during the 49ers heyday, and the 49ers were in town playing the Houston Oilers. So I was in the Astrodome, it was a Sunday after a Rush to Excellence performance the night before. It’s where I met the famous sports agent Leigh Steinberg. We’re in the press box, he came up and introduced himself to me. He sat down, we were watching the game, he’s representing — I don’t know if he had Montana — no. But he had Steve Young. Steve Bartkowski from the Falcons was his first client. They both went to Berkeley together, University of California Berkeley, and Steinberg, we’re just watching the game and there was an especially brutal hit. “These guys are so tough.”
I said, “What do you mean?”
He said, “You and I, the average human being, couldn’t take one play out there. We wouldn’t last one play in the trenches, the offense and defense, we wouldn’t,” and it’s true. That’s why getting to the NFL is unique. It’s why not everybody can do it. It’s why not everybody’s qualified. It is a man’s game. It’s a man’s world. And it is not common. Feelings and making sure there isn’t any bullying, my God, the things that are said during the course of the game, you let these wusses take over things and I’m gonna tell you, it’s just gonna be the end of toughness everywhere. And you need it, a nation needs toughness, you’ve got to be tough.
Folks, I got hazed as a sophomore in high school, and everybody that’s played the game does. You get hazed when you join a fraternity. Girls haze each other in sororities, for crying out loud, humiliate each other. Now we’ve got this massive effort here on the part of these recently educated people to try to take all of this out of culture, ’cause it’s not good, it’s mean, and it hurts people’s feelings, as though there’s someplace in life where everything’s perfect. Is there somewhere you can go and live your life where nobody’s mean and nobody’s rude and it’s just peace and love and flowers everywhere and marijuana wherever you want it, is that what it is?
My God, I think back sometimes. When I worked for the Kansas City Royals, I had many jobs. Group sales, sales of advertising signage in the ballpark and the publications like the program and the scorecard, yearbook, this kind of stuff. I produced the game starting in my second or third year in the scoreboard room. I actually arranged and made sure all the commercials ran between innings, played the music, arranged first pitches, anthem singers, you know, all of that stuff. And all of this required that I go in the locker room.
I had to go to the locker room every day to get three or four autographed baseballs for clients or whatever. I’d walk in there, and here’s some guy getting ready to play.
“Uh, Mr. Wilson, would you sign…?”
“Get outta here! You think I got time to sign a damn baseball? To hell with you!”
“But I gotta get it signed.”
You want to hear one of the biggest tricks that was played on me? Dick Howser, the late great Dick Howser was the manager. The Royals had made the playoffs. They made it every year when I was there except for one, and one of Howser ‘s best friends was Burt Reynolds, and my job (which everybody laughed at) was to find the Anthem singer and pregame entertainment and all that during playoffs.
One game the owner’s wife, Mrs. K., wanted some singer to sing the Anthem and said, “Okay, do that,” and I had to escort this woman out to microphone at second base. I mean, got 40,000 people and she’s on my arm and I’m walking off with the woman, and the people in the stands are laughing at me. “Oh, you got a really big job! Wow, you get to escort Marilyn Maye to second base. Wow, how did you get this job?”
This is life.
But that’s not the big one. Howser is the manager. We made the playoffs. A guy in the PR department — and I didn’t know it at the time — was playing a trick on me.
“You know what’d be great?
I said, “What?”
“Burt Reynolds throwing the first pitch!”
“You know, you’re right.” Well, I go down and ask Howser. Howser knows him, so I walked down to Howser’s office, and it was pregame. It’s a game didn’t mean anything. The season was still going on, but we’ve clinched. We know we’re in the playoffs, but it’s still game day. He’s in there in uniform and it’s about 30 minutes before the game. I said, “Skip…” trying to be one of the guys. “Skip, you got a minute?”
“Sure, what do you need?”
I said, “You’re good friends with Burt Reynolds, right?”
“Oh, yeah, yeah. Burt and I go way back.”
“I’m thinking. Here we got playoffs coming up, and I think it’d just be great if you could put me in contact with him. I’d love to get him in here and maybe throw out the first pitch,” and he went on this tirade.
He said, “You come down here for that? I got a game that’s starting in a half hour! You come waltzing in here talking about some silly first pitch in the playoffs that are not even for a week. What do you think I am? Do you not realize what I gotta do?”
He just went on for 10 minutes, and I’m standing there shrinking in size throughout the whole thing. I’m thinking, “Gee,” and then I found out later it was all a trick. They put me up to it. Howser was in on it. This stuff happens. But I’m gonna tell you, all those people that I met, they’re some of my best friends today. I didn’t walk out. I didn’t go up and complain to anybody. I didn’t go crying that the manager had yelled at me.
I just took it, when I figured what had happened. So that’s why this stuff that we’re all getting worked up over here over, bullying and stuff, in a football clubhouse, there’s equal power. Now, if the coach is bullying people — that happens, too, by the way, which is also coming. (interruption) You think I could still sue some of those guys for bullying me? Oh, let me tell you something. That story, the Howser, that’s nothing compared to some of the stuff the players did to me.
But what I figured out was it all happened ’cause they liked me. It wasn’t the other way, that I saw that they disrespect me, dislike me. I’ll tell you, it got so bad at one point that I refused to go down. I went up and I said, “You know what? Send somebody else down to get those damn baseballs autographed and I’m gonna find another way to the field to do the first pitch ’cause I’m not going in there. I’m just not going down there.”
About two weeks later, a contingent of players came up to my office and said, “Where have you been?” They’re in uniform and they’re coming up into my office. “Where have you been? Come on back.” They dragged me back down there and everything was okay. I wouldn’t trade those five years for anything. That’s why I say I learned more in those five years, the first five years out of radio than I ever did in the whatever, 10 or 12 in it.
RUSH: I promised this, Michael Wilbon, ESPN Pardon the Interruption last night, they’re talking about Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, and there’s been a shift here in opinion as to Incognito being a bad guy, now he’s not so much. Listen to this.
WILBON: It doesn’t ring true, it is true. This goes back to slavery. House N and field N, okay? When they were separated and seemingly the people in the house were closer to who? The white man. This is about relationship. This is about how you are perceived. This is about blackness, okay, culturally and spiritually, not about the actual color of your skin. There are people always in all black subcultures who are white who are more accepted as being blacker that black people, who may be, as we say, “blue black.”
RUSH: Now, what he’s saying here, let me translate. He’s basically explaining why Incognito’s a brother in the Dolphins locker room. The brothers love him, ’cause of the way he carries himself, and he’s not black. On the other hand, the brothers do not like RGIII. Are you aware of this? The brothers do not like RGIII. He’s too white. He’s Republican. He’s dating a white girl. They don’t like RGIII. And we’ve got the sound bite here, this Rob Parker guy back on December 13th of last year explaining that RGIII, he’s not a black guy. He doesn’t do black stuff. He’s not a brother. And Incognito is. This is what Wilbon’s explaining and how in the world that happens.