Wow. Am I disappointed.
I don’t claim to know a lot about what goes on in NFL locker rooms. And I don’t really care to. But, the last time I checked, these players were adults. And professionals. Who are paid large sums of money to play a game that is largely supported by the public.
The NFL puts a huge emphasis on its image and holds players and teams accountable to do the same.
So, when the story came out about Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, who left the team this week after incessant bullying and hazing, I had very little tolerance.
This is a guy who went to Stanford. Who was a second round draft pick in 2012. And who is starting just his second season in the NFL. Emotional issues aside, he needed support from his team. And he didn’t get it.
With all the young kids we hear about facing cruel and abusive behavior on a daily basis, we as adults have a moral obligation to step in. Professional athletes, who are in a visible position, have a moral obligation to set an example. To show this is unacceptable behavior at any age.
The Dolphins players, coaches, and management allowed the bullying of one of their own, for an extended period of time. And that goes beyond disappointment for me.
With power comes responsibility. The Dolphins failed that responsibility. To their team. To their league. To their fans. And more than anything…to their player.
Martin had to leave the team to get help. But in doing so, he may have helped himself and others with a problem that goes far beyond the Dolphins facility.
Some things are bigger than football. People are bigger than football. Jonathan Martin is bigger than football.
And Jonathan Martin deserved better.
Bullying can’t be tolerated. Not in schools. Not in sports. And certainly not in the NFL.
The Miami Dolphins dropped the ball, so to speak. They need to practice becoming winners where it matters most…off the field.
In real life.
Where they can make a real difference.
But, charity starts at home.
And the Dolphins need to start in their own locker room.