Professional Discrimination in the NFL:
by Alberta Parish
On Friday, NFL investigator Ted Wells released his findings on the inquiry into Jonathan Martin’s allegations of harassment and bullying by Miami Dolphins’ teammates. Wells’ report confirms everything that Martin has privately and publicly stated regarding the racial statements made about him and his family by fellow offensive lineman Richard Incognito, other teammates and the offensive line coach. Included in the report was an allegation that racial slurs were made to a Japanese assistant coach. It was also stated that Incognito was the main instigator of harassment and discrimination against Martin who taunted the player as being gay, and made statements about raping his mother and sister.
I think the major reason why Richie Incognito and others in the Dolphins’ organization harassed, humiliated and emotionally abused Martin for so long was probably due to them having formed conclusions regarding Martin’s sexuality as being gay. Since Incognito believed that his fellow teammate Martin was gay, he wanted to make him feel bad by denigrating him in front of other people or perhaps he was trying to force Martin to confess to being gay. What was the goal that Incognito hoped to accomplish by taking constant cheap shots at Martin? What was Incognito trying to prove by making cutthroat and sexual remarks about Martin and his relatives?
Whenever people are looking for proof or trying to force a confession, they will make rude and asinine remarks in an effort to get a reaction. People looking for proof about someone’s sexuality will spread rumors. Incognito was trying to get proof that Martin is gay by getting him to confess to it himself.
The NFL acts as though discrimination, homophobia and racism have recently gotten out of control throughout the various team organizations when, in fact, people like Jonathan Martin has simply chosen to expose what was already happening in locker rooms and back offices in the National Football League since its inception.
Richie Incognito is an asshole that kept shit going on the job, constantly running his goddamn mouth about things he knew absolutely nothing about. He didn’t know whether Martin was gay or not. Yet, he spread vicious rumors throughout the locker room, in the office, in the hallway, in the lunch room and in the facilities restroom about a man’s sexuality without having concrete evidence to back up his claim. He is a fuckin’ idiot. Intolerance, discrimination, racism, sexism, male chauvinism and homophobia exists in every workplace in America, because most Americans are superficial, overly critical of others, and intolerant of other’s differences, culture and even beliefs. As an atheist, I sometimes find myself being intolerant of my mother’s beliefs as a Christian. I have to remind myself that she has the right to practice her beliefs just like I have the right to not believe. Even so, I have to be tolerant of her beliefs. I can’t force her to believe the way that I want her to believe. Neither can I force her to be an atheist like me.
Incognito’s nature is that of a controlling, intolerant, verbally and emotionally abusive tyrant. I’ve known bullies like him my whole life. As an adult, I put bullies in their place on the job, in my family, in the street. If you don’t handle the classic bully as soon as he or she strikes the first blow physically or figuratively, he/she will continue to test you.
Being an African American female, I’ve been tested so many times, especially by black men and black women on the job, in the church, in the street until I have learned to effectively keep these people out of my inner circle so they won’t pollute the energy that surrounds me. I stay away from people that like to keep shit going all the time, because if I really snap I will probably hurt somebody.
Jonathan Martin seems to be a very passive guy, which is why the Incognitos of the world felt like they could ruin Martin’s reputation by spreading false rumors about him being gay. Some stupid fuckin’ Christians in my former church had spread rumors about me being a lesbian a few years ago. At the time, I thought I had some real friends in the church but I had more “frenemies” than true friends. I guarantee that Incognito is one of those people that attends church, believes in god, was raised a Christian and, as a result, he turned out to be dysfunctional as an adult. I know for a fact that Christianity and the bible makes most people dysfunctional and mentally challenged. This man-child, playing the position of offensive lineman, has used his profession to harass, intimidate, bully, abuse and discriminate against those that are different. I bet that Incognito has been doing this his entire life. It has taken someone like Martin who has enough class, pride and dignity to conclude, “Enough is enough. I’m going to expose your discrimination, intolerance, homophobia and racism.”
Jonathan Martin has shown great strength and good judgment by reporting Incognito and others to the NFL for their homophobic and racist remarks. After all, the NFL does have a policy in writing prohibiting sexual harassment, abuse, discrimination and retaliation. If only more people in the workplace reported similar incidents, all 50 states could have already had equal rights for gays including same-sex marriage rights. If there were more successful lawsuits won against individuals and corporations for acts of discrimination, retaliation and harassment in the workplace, atheists and religious skeptics would not be constantly subjected to workplace bullying throughout the United States. It is a known fact that self-proclaimed atheists are more likely to be discriminated against in the workplace than Muslims.
Mr. Martin could have reacted negatively by verbally threatening Incognito and others that were harassing him, which is what they would have wanted. Instead, he kept records of text messages and other pertinent information because he was smart and did not play into Incognito’s hand.
This past Wednesday, Mr. Incognito had the audacity to take to Twitter and post negative comments directed at Martin. Incognito’s twitter page has since been deleted. He basically rammed his own asshole by his recent remarks on Martin.
As a kid, my mother would take me to Miami Dolphins games prior to us relocating to Atlanta. I don’t remember anything about those experiences being inside the Dolphins’ stadium except for what my mother told me. I do know that Mom was a huge Dolphins’ fan. I miss my hometown. I miss the ocean, the air, the palm trees and the innocence of my youth that was left behind when I moved to Atlanta in 1985. I don’t miss the poverty, inner-city crime and lack of opportunities that were the prevailing factors in one of the poorest communities that I grew up in while a Miami resident. But I miss the soul of Miami. I’ll probably return one day, even after I’m dead.
Homophobic and racist views perpetuated as “locker room culture” is not a good look for the organization, because much of the demographics in Miami comprise people of color like the Cubans, Haitians, Trinidadians, African Americans, Hispanics and Mexicans. They are the people keeping the Miami economy going. They fill the seats at the Dolphins’ stadium. They buy the stadium food. They work the jobs in the stadium.
I applaud the Miami Dolphins’ organization for doing its best to get to the bottom of things by conducting an investigation into the allegations brought forth against certain players and staff members by Mr. Martin, because homophobia, racism, sexism, harassment and intolerance should have no place in the NFL. Rude comments about raping somebody’s mama and sister should never be threatened. Asinine and circumstantial remarks regarding someone’s sexual orientation should not be the primary source of gossip in the locker room, on the field of play, in the hallway, in the office, in the assembly room, in the church, the mosque or synagogue. Why the fuck is it so important for Incognito and others to know whether or not Martin is gay? Can Mr. Martin play football? Can he tackle very well? Can he defend? Is he a good teammate? Does he respect the Dolphins’ organization and coaches? Can he help the Dolphins win games and get to the Super Bowl? These are the more important questions. Not whether or not Jonathan Martin’s gay. Should it matter if Martin is gay? It certainly doesn’t make him less of a man if he is.
Richie Incognito is so preoccupied with whether or not Martin is gay until I’m starting to wonder whether Incognito has gay tendencies or sexual urges for men.