Reporter: Luke Callebert
The NFL wants you to be tough.
Toughness means I can pilfer $15,000 from you for a trip you’re not attending. Toughness means I can send you racist and physically threatening text messages to toughen you up. Toughness means I say flat out (without ‘bleeping’ or ‘*’-ing out) the words I sent because that makes me tough too. This is what I sent you:
“Hey, wassup, you half-nigger piece of shit. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] shit in your fucking mouth. [I’m going to] slap your fucking mouth. [I’m going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. Fuck you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”
It’s okay for me to use that language because I’m tough and being tough means I don’t care what people think, if you have a problem let’s fight. And we’ll fight because…
The NFL wants you to be a man.
You’re supposed to look at reality differently, face it, and if it tries to fight, well step up and knock reality out. It’s okay for me to send that text message to someone because we’re ‘buddies’.
If a ‘buddy’ sends me that text message though, and I have a problem with it, the easiest and best solution is to stand up and punch the teammate who sent it to me. That’s how problems are solved when you’re tough and a man. So what are you going to do about it? You just going to sit there and take it or are you going to hike up your socks and come fight me? Either way it’s okay because…
The NFL ‘Locker Room’ is a sacred place, where societal rules or norms don’t count.
It’s okay if everyone’s doing it. I can use the n-word repeatedly. I can threaten your sister with gang rape, and most of all if you’re a rookie, I can freely make death threats toward you.
You sit there and take it, or try to fight me. I’m a man and I’m tough! You really need to toughen up over there! Be a man! And don’t you do dare try to go for help because…
The NFL doesn’t seem to want players to get help for emotional problems.
Emotional problems are for the weak. And as we just went over, I’m not weak. I’m tough. I’m a man! If you’re not, maybe you shouldn’t be playing football or be in our locker room. If there’s a problem, it stays in our cushy locker room.
You can’t seek help away from the problem, because then you ARE the problem. An entire room of teammates and ‘buddies’ will turn their back on you if you try to seek help. We’ve been through the choices you have. What are you going to do?
This is what happens when locker room culture and public attention clash.
How ridiculous is that scenario? What choices do you have? How would you feel?
This is exactly what Jonathan Martin, a half black male and second-round draft pick, of the Miami Dolphins had to deal with. His teammate Richie Incognito was the ‘buddy’ sending him the text messages, pressuring him, trying to “toughen him” up. Most know the details by now and I won’t spend time going through them, but Martin obviously was not okay with this treatment no matter the justification or spin Incgonito tries to put on it.
What is in play here is how ridiculous the ‘ players code’ and the ‘locker room’ myth is when dragged into the public spotlight.
In no other profession would this ever be acceptable. Especially a profession where its employees are paid millions of dollars to be role models, not just to its fans, but to children.
As a society we say bullying in any form is never acceptable. Child bullying, especially, is not acceptable in any form, or so we say. Now the NFL and its players have decided to set the example that bullying is bad, everywhere but the locker room that is.
NFL players have stepped up recently saying that Martin wasn’t “tough enough” and the solution for Martin was to “man up” and just to challenge Incognito to a fight. This is completely laughable. And unacceptable.
How can we hold our children in elementary and high schools accountable for bullying and hazing in locker rooms when their role models are allowed to get away with such conduct?
How can the NFL, its players and other body justify this treatment of one of their own?
It’s time for someone, anyone, related to the NFL to stand up and say this is wrong. It’s time for racism to stop.
It’s time for the despicable bullying to stop. It’s time for locker room culture to come to an end.
What kind of example is this for society? The NFL is not Teflon, and journalists won’t let this one die. What will the NFL do to solve this? That remains to be seen, but the solution better not be to turn a blind eye this time because…
It’s time for the bullying bullshit to stop.