When Brett Favre first heard that the NFL had a bullying scandal, he at first couldn’t comprehend it.
Favre said in an interview on Today that he didn’t understand how the word “bully” could be used to describe Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito’s relationship with teammate Jonathan Martin.
“My initial reaction was, You’ve got to be kidding me. What? Pro football bullying? We’re playing the toughest sport, most violent, not to mention you’re men, some older than others, so it’s not like a little 12-year-old on the playground,” Favre said. “I’m not defending or condoning, all I’m saying is my initial reaction was, ‘A grown man who’s 320 pounds is getting bullied?'”
Favre said he doesn’t know the details of what has happened in Miami, but he was surprised to see it become an issue.
“I never thought I would see it,” Favre said. “I’m not saying it’s not possible, I’m not saying it didn’t happen. I don’t know. I haven’t really paid a whole lot of attention to it. But my initial reaction was, You’ve got to be kidding me.”
According to Favre, the culture of an NFL locker room is one where people expect to see teammates making crude jokes at other teammates’ expense. Favre was known as a locker room prankster during his time in the NFL, and he was also fined $50,000 by the NFL for failing to cooperate with an investigation into accusations that he sent inappropriate text messages and photographs to a woman who worked for the Jets while he was their quarterback.
“It is part of the locker room,” Favre said, “There’s a lot of guys getting picked on, some handle it well some don’t handle it well. I’m not saying it’s right. And from a locker room sense, from a team sense, I’m not saying it’s wrong. It’s just the way it is.”
Favre currently works as a high school football coach, and he said bullying isn’t tolerated at his school. Whether it’s a normal part of an NFL locker room right now or not, Incognito’s suspension makes it clear that bullying won’t be tolerated in the NFL for much longer.