How far have we fallen as a society? The latest scandal out of Miami has definitely made headlines in many subjects other than football. I recognize that this is a Dallas Cowboys blog, but I would truly be remised if I didn’t share my two cents on the matter. I find it so funny that so many of us can opine so strongly without direct knowledge of the situation, but I think it’s because the matter hits so close to home. Bullying is no joking matter; it has definitely found its way into our society, but who would have ever thought that it could be at the center of an NFL locker room amongst grown “professionals”? No matter your opinion the situation is incredibly bizarre.
Because of my earlier statement I refuse to take a side, but I do have some very strong feelings about those who do without having analyzed all that we already know. It seems we’ve watered this down to a situation exclusively between Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. From what I can tell, it seems as if Incognito is taking the majority of the blame for a problem that was very evident within the Dolphins locker room as a whole.
Have we already forgotten that the original blowup occurred because Martin attempted to sit down to eat with his teammates while they all got up and left him alone to eat? I even read in one article that Martin received the moniker of” Big Weirdo” by his teammates. While that’s not the worst insult I’ve ever heard it hardly seems playful either. Now, interviews are showing that most if not all of Martin’s teammates are strongly backing Incognito and claiming that Martin’s actions are clear overreactions to his inability to “stand up and be a man” to Incognito.
Seems to me that they just don’t like the guy. Honestly, the actions of some of these players can’t be explained in any other way than childish, and yet instead of asking ourselves how we could have possibly fallen so far as a society, we are asking why Martin was too much of a coward to handle things himself.
How are we so sure he didn’t? Secondly, seeing as how the actions of this team don’t exactly represent those of an adult, how do we expect Martin to confront his teammate in an adult like fashion? Perhaps he even did express his discontent with Incognito’s actions which might have produced the backlash of being singled out by the rest of the team.
There is just too much that we don’t know. We’ve learned by now that hazing has found its place in professional sports. Some of it is harmless, but as we can see some of it goes further than just typical fun.
I’ve heard a lot this week about new, young players needing to earn the respect of the locker room. Oh please spare me if I don’t think the Dolphins deserve that respect. I can see going into the Patriots locker and needing to earn the respect of a Tom Brady. I can see going into the Broncos locker room and needing to earn the respect of a Peyton Manning or a Champ Bailey. I can see needing to have earned the respect of a Ray Lewis in the Baltimore Ravens locker room. But for some reason I don’t see those guys giving respect because of how “manly” you are, or how quick you are to throw a punch when someone gets in your face, but rather your work ethic, your desire to not only be great for yourself but for your teammates, and for your ability to pick up your teammates when things inevitably don’t go as planned.
Excuse me for thinking that the Dolphins don’t exactly have a guy that deserves that kind of respect. I truly believe where leadership is lacking, bullying will be present. So take from that what you will. I don’t think we know what it means to be manly anymore. It used to mean leadership, and genuinely caring about other people. Now, we merely believe it to be who is tough enough to take the first swing when we have a disagreement.
This debate goes so much further than football, so its times like these that make me incredibly grateful for players like DeMarcus Ware. We get so caught up in the wins and losses that we completely forget who we’re cheering for as human beings. I don’t know the man personally, but his actions many a time have spoken for themselves. On top of being one of the best players in the NFL, he clearly respects and cares for his teammates and not to mention his opponents. His leadership is extremely evident not only on the field, but off it as well. It just doesn’t seem like there’s enough DeMarcus Ware’s in this league.
I guess that might be asking too much. When you hand a kid a million dollars because he can run fast you might be asking for trouble, but then again there might not be many more moments where it’s easier to find true character. We Cowboys fans are definitely not happy with where we stand at a competitive level, but I would hope most of you will join me in being thankful for the leadership we do have on this team. Thanks to guys like DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten we can be thankful that our locker room isn’t experiencing the same turmoil like that of the Dolphins.
I’m more surprised by some of the opinions expressed about this situation than I am about the behavior of some of these players. As I stated earlier I believe this topic stretches much farther than football. As a society we’ve lost understanding of what it means to be a good human being. We don’t care about each other enough anymore. Perhaps as time continues on more light will be shed on this subject, but if nothing else we can remember that even in the darkest of moments lessons can be learned. Maybe we can realize that good men still do exist.