Don’t Tell Me How I Am Supposed to React

Don’t Tell Me How I Am Supposed to React

Matt HealeySunday,16 February 2014

The Snap:

“He should have kept it in the locker room”. “You don’t go outside the organization”. This is the common refrain from sportscasters, ex-NFL players, and other members of the media. It is used to explain why Johnathan Martin is in the wrong regarding the Incognito incident. And it is total BS.

The Download:

People who were not bullied have no idea. The only one who understands this in the sports world was Matthew Berry. He wrote a great article about it in his Week 11 Love/Hate column. His column resonated with me because I was similar. I was the kid that got beat up through high school. I have no memories of anything before college. That part of my life has been blocked out. Berry is right about the fear. The reason that you cannot “keep it in the locker room” is the fear. It is the fear that things will get worse not better if you complain. If you go to the trainers, coaches, managers, teachers, principals, etc. it will get worse. And Berry is right it will.

But he is right for a few reasons. So let’s assume that Martin did go through official channels. There are two outcomes, bad and worse. I’ll start with bad. In the bad outcome the coaches /trainers/etc. believe Martin and want to help. They start by sitting Incognito down and disciplining him. Maybe it is a simple talking to, maybe it is a fine. Regardless, Incognito is now even more pissed at Martin and the target on his back gets bigger. After all, the Dolphins are not going to release one of their starting O-line men over something like this. So the abuse will continue and likely escalate. So nothing will be accomplished in the bad scenario. Moving on to the worse scenario. That is, in my experience the far more common one. In this outcome the trainers/coaches/teachers/etc. think that by coming to them it is clearly shows Martin has problems. He can’t fight his own battles. He is a weak. He is not a team player. He is the problem, not Incognito. So not only will they not help, but they may become part of the problem. And the abuse will continue. Based on the reporting in the Wells report the outcome would have been in the ‘worse’ category. Martin was boxed in. The coaches were taking part in the abuse, there was nowhere to go.

People who go outside of official challenges and do things that you “don’t” do often do that because the official channels have failed them. Keep that in mind before saying that “you just don’t do it that way”


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