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Martin situation exposes ugly underbelly of football


At a time when the NFL frets about parents keeping their children out of football due to the potential long-term impact of concussions, the league also should at least be a bit concerned about the possible fallout of the still-unfolding situation in Miami — and the manner in which some current players, former players, and personnel executives are reacting to it.

Football is premised on the commission of violence in controlled circumstances. Football celebrates those who will commit violence on demand. Football tolerates, at times, those who can’t quite flip the switch back to off.

Consider this comment from an unnamed personnel executive to Jim Trotter of “Incognito is an A-Hole, however I’m pretty sure you would want him beside you if you are in a bar fight. Tough as nails.”

The message? It’s better to have a guy who will be an “A-Hole” on and off the field than a guy who is neither.

Football coaches at every level, whether they admit it or not, want their players to be mean. The goal seems to be to make them mean on the field, and to deal separately with the manner in which being mean on the field can spill over to their lives away from the field if/when it becomes a problem.

Most players are capable of being mean on the field and not mean off the field. Still, football craves players who will be mean on the field, and football prefers both to neither.

The Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito saga could prompt some parents to ensure that their children remain in the neither category by keeping them away from a sport that ultimately could put them in both.

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43 Responses to “Martin situation exposes ugly underbelly of football”
  1. Foghorn The IKonoclast says: Nov 4, 2013 1:59 PM

    The financial exploitation is never right and in fact, illegal. Then to further complicate matters you harass, well if that isn’t abusive, I don’t know what is.

  2. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 4, 2013 2:02 PM

    Maybe… incognito should get a job assaulting people at bars/clubs (like he did in August 2013).

  3. mrsingh24 says: Nov 4, 2013 2:02 PM

    What other personnel executive would’ve said that besides Jeff Ireland?

  4. hrmlss says: Nov 4, 2013 2:02 PM

    The Bottle Nose Dolphins are now highly offended by the use of the Dolphins name and as squeaking for the name to be changed…..

  5. @HowdyDoobie says: Nov 4, 2013 2:06 PM

    If Richie doesn’t change his ways he is going to have a very tragic after football life.

  6. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 4, 2013 2:09 PM

    Soccer will be America’s number one sport by 2032.

    Just the facts.

  7. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 4, 2013 2:13 PM

    The U.S. is one fluky or fixed World Cup away from a quick futbol society.

  8. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 4, 2013 2:13 PM

    He doesn’t look like a bully.

  9. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 4, 2013 2:15 PM

    The term “unfortunate incident” certainly seems to fit here.

  10. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Nov 4, 2013 2:17 PM

    A lot of football players and coaches are the brightest bulbs. Watching a few episodes of Hard Knocks will confirm this point

  11. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 4, 2013 2:18 PM

    Use the phrase “ugly underbelly” in a Rich Incognito article one more time and he’s coming for you.

  12. purplengold says: Nov 4, 2013 2:21 PM

    Incognito’s ugly underbelly…wait he’s holding his helmet

  13. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 4, 2013 2:21 PM

    The unnamed source just called Jim Trotter back to correct the quote. What he intended to say about Incognito was that he was “smart as nails”.

  14. uclafightfightfight says: Nov 4, 2013 2:23 PM

    “The message? It’s better to have a guy who will be an “A-Hole” on and off the field than a guy who is neither.”

    That’s not necessarily what that message is. I understand the job of the media is to report the news and oftentimes that involves stirring things up. Still, as a long-time reader of this forum, that’s quite a logical jump. Try not to make things worse than they already are.

  15. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 4, 2013 2:23 PM

    How about that scene in Hard Knocks where richie incognito hacks a guys facebook page and writes something immature on his page.

    Someone is gonna get richie.

  16. blakeden says: Nov 4, 2013 2:25 PM

    HGH who me? no way I (Incognito) have always been a jerk. I used to steal smaller kids lunch money in 4th grade. Now that I’m an adult I steal there pay checks…. The guy is a jerk cut him loose and move on fins….Maybe Incognito and Ryan Leif can start a ex NFL fools gang…They can rob houses and extort money from people

  17. realitypolice says: Nov 4, 2013 2:26 PM

    At some point, the Phins have to do the “Is this guy really worth the trouble” math. Trouble follows this guy wherever he goes. As I said on previous posts, as soon as heard about this incident, his name popped into my head, a full day before it was mentioned in the press. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    It’s pretty bad when you hear about trouble on an NFL team and everyone knows who is involved before they are even named.

    Yes, he made the Pro Bowl last year, but he’s certainly not irreplaceable.

  18. annes22 says: Nov 4, 2013 2:28 PM

    This whole thing is so stupid. The NFL is for tough guys and there is no place for tantrums and tray throwing. Get out if you cannot handle it.

  19. thegrigga49 says: Nov 4, 2013 2:28 PM

    Sucks for The Dolphins to have such a big distraction after a huge win in the heat of a playoff push.

  20. thegrigga49 says: Nov 4, 2013 2:29 PM

    Its ok though, they brought in Bryant mackinnie to right the ship and provide veteran leadership!! Lol what a mess that OL is.

  21. geniusry says: Nov 4, 2013 2:31 PM

    I really hate when the media takes one bad apple and applies it to everyone. There is nothing in football that promotes Incognito’s words or actions (if/when we find out the extend of them). I guarantee that no parent saw this story and said “hey, my kid can’t play football because of Richie Incognit-who.” If anything, it would teach kids to stand up to guys like him and bring it to the attention of their coaches.

    Can’t wait for Sunday night when Bob Costas weighs in.

  22. assuredmutualdestruction says: Nov 4, 2013 2:33 PM

    Good work with the title and picture. Martin was doing him a favor not paying for his meals.

  23. hjworton46 says: Nov 4, 2013 2:38 PM

    The posters who are suggesting that we shouldn’t be bothered by Incognitos’ terrible accused behaviour because it’s a sign of football going ‘soft’ need to realise it’s 2013. This cannot be allowed anywhere. Bullies must be outed.

  24. spfripp says: Nov 4, 2013 2:40 PM

    Have a bad feeling that this will turn into every man/woman for themselves situation for Miami’s front office and coaches.

  25. cursedvikings1998 says: Nov 4, 2013 2:41 PM

    How fitting you used the word “underbelly” while utilizing a photograph which emphasizes Richie’s corpulent frame. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  26. thevelvetglove says: Nov 4, 2013 2:43 PM

    Wait a second, people need to understand these kind of people like Incognito have been around the sport since its inception.

    Bill Romanowski ring a bell?

    Steve McMicheal?

    Howie Long?

    The league is full and has been full of people like this, we are just living in too political correct times where children can’t go to school in costumes because it could frighten other students.

    We are making a generation of sissy’s who want things handed to them and are not about to work for anything. If Incognito did the things that have been reported, he should be punished, no one deserves to have their family threatened, but everything else is just football, its been that way and always will be that way.

    Stop being wimps.

  27. surfinbird1 says: Nov 4, 2013 2:44 PM

    Incognito has an underbelly and an outerbelly.

  28. jackflash46 says: Nov 4, 2013 2:50 PM

    Couldn’t agree more with geniusry! Try to create a mountain out of a mole hill is what journalism is all about these days. Let’s just stop and tell it like it is instead of hinting and trying to make it into some seedy underlying problem with the NFL and football CAUSE IT’S NOT! I spent years in and around the NFL and its players and never once seen or heard anything like this. The bottom line is Incognito is a jerk and a general all around bad guy! He was at Nebraska, where he was kicked off the team and didn’t even play his senior year because of his demeanor as well as every place he’s ever been. Fights with teammates, opposing players and swinging his helmet like a weapon. He’s just a bad guy. if there is a real issue it’s why do teams keep giving ditch frogs like this guy chance after chance after chance!

  29. pancanfinfan says: Nov 4, 2013 3:02 PM

    Howard Cosell once railed against the Jockacracy in that unqualified oafs were being promoted to play by play positions or color commentators on the media. It also extends down to the locker room bullying. But even more its at the college level and the high school level where idiots like igcognito are protected and coddled. Is it any wonder that they beleive they can get away with something as agregious as we are hearing on these tapes?

  30. jimmysee says: Nov 4, 2013 3:03 PM

    Quoting Lyndon Johnson on J. Edgar Hoover:

    “I’d rather have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.”

  31. melikefootball says: Nov 4, 2013 3:24 PM

    This has become the way of the NFL. Gödel sits behind a curtain and does not address real problems of the league. They are losing fans, they are allowing players to slowly take over the way the game is played. Just look at the number of season ending injuries and players cut practices to their own liking . They the league bosses continue to hide the bad side of the game, the type players they continue to allow in the game.

  32. sidepull says: Nov 4, 2013 3:32 PM

    Uh oh feels like another soapbox to stand on. Players make it too easy for the media drama queens.

  33. jbsptfn says: Nov 4, 2013 3:34 PM

    Maybe… incognito should get a job assaulting people at bars/clubs (like he did in August 2013).


    In the grand Nebraska tradition like his predecessors, Lawrence Phillips and Christian Peter.

  34. tacowrecker says: Nov 4, 2013 3:41 PM

    It’s an unfortunate fact that many football players are d-bags. The NFL provides them with an environment where being violent, ill-tempered and boorish is not just accepted but encouraged. The league affords them the opportunity to be highly compensated and granted elite social status for what would otherwise be considered undesirable traits or character flaws. And yet it’s still the greatest game on earth.

  35. males520 says: Nov 4, 2013 3:50 PM

    No place for this crap in sports!

  36. apkyletexas says: Nov 4, 2013 3:58 PM

    When someone is 9 months pregnant, you really shouldn’t be calling their underbelly “ugly”.

    Poor guy. Glad he got suspended before he had to be rushed in for delivery.

  37. scaredhitless says: Nov 4, 2013 4:00 PM

    This makes no sense!

    Growing up the football players in high school are always the best behaved citizens. Sure they bullied everyone, never went to class and were above the law but on Friday nights when the lights are on… boy did they deliver.

  38. fpstratton says: Nov 4, 2013 4:04 PM

    This is a shocking story. Yeah, it’s good to be mean in football….but not to your teammates!!! Save it for the opponents, as long as you play within the rules. By the looks of things, Incognito is a good last name for someone who never really distinguished himself on the field other than this ridiculous twitter tirade against one of his own.

  39. johnqhorn says: Nov 4, 2013 6:20 PM

    “Football coaches at every level, whether they admit it or not, want their players to be mean.”

    I agree. Coaches should. But they need them to be humanistic as well. This isn’t a gang. Or a murderous, consequences-be-damned mafia, not that much different than the one depicted on “The Sopranos.” It’s a football team. Be tough and assertive. Chris Spielman was “mean,” I’d like to think he didn’t threaten anyone’s family.

  40. dienavinjohnson says: Nov 4, 2013 7:48 PM

    Don’t even try to compare Incognito to Howie Long. I used to hang out with a group of kids from Charlestown (where Howie was from) during the summers at a beach in New Hampshire. A couple of times their friend Howie joined us. He was an awesome guy. I always thought I was a tough guy. Then I met Howie and found out what a real tough guy was. Howie never had to fight. He had nothing to prove. He was funny and fun.

    I was always looking for trouble. It wasn’t because I was tough. It’s because I was insecure. I was a punk. Richie Incognito is a punk. He would last about two seconds with Howie Long. And I bet you anything that over-the-top stuff like this didn’t happen in the Raiders’ locker room, thanks to guys like Howie Long.

  41. 1historian says: Nov 4, 2013 8:30 PM

    I just got here so I need to get up to speed.

    What did Incognito do? (what a name)

    Apparently it was something not very nice to the point of being ikky, but – what specifically did he do? Everyone seems to be having attacks of the vapors and I’d like to know why.

  42. deejayehn says: Nov 4, 2013 9:06 PM

    What is the NFL turning into? The nanny state pink uniformed two hand grope each other game?

    This world is quickly on a downward slide…

  43. ivanpavlov0000 says: Nov 4, 2013 9:50 PM

    This incident may discourage parents from letting their kids play football because they don’t want their kids hanging around with jerks.

    This is going to require coaches on every level to assure parents that their kids aren’t walking into a situation where stupidity is condoned and encouraged. And this will probably go beyond football.

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