Bryant McKinnie, who replaced Jonathan Martin as the Dolphins’ left tackle after Martin left the team amid accusations that he was being bullied, doesn’t like the way Martin handled himself in the locker room.
McKinnie said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Martin should have spoken up and said so if the razzing in the locker room was getting under his skin.
“I don’t feel like ‘bullying’ is the term because nobody physically harmed him or made him do anything,” McKinnie said. “He always had an option to say yes or no. It was never that he got bullied like he feared for his life. I just feel like he went about it the wrong way and didn’t communicate properly with the proper people. . . . The players themselves thought Jonathan was laughing with them.”
In fairness to Martin, however, just because he wasn’t physically harmed doesn’t mean he wasn’t bullied. And people who are bullied often go along with it because they fear that standing up to it will only make it worse. Maybe Martin should have spoken up, or maybe if Martin had spoken up he only would have escalated the situation.
But McKinnie’s view may be a common one in NFL locker rooms, and McKinnie suggested that Martin might have a hard time convincing a team that he belongs in a locker room.
“Some people might look at Jonathan as, he might be too sensitive for this environment,” he said. “We don’t know if he’s emotionally stable enough to do this.”
The Wells Report, however, indicated that the problem in Miami wasn’t Martin’s emotional stability. The problem in Miami was that teammates (and in one case a coach) were verbally abusing Martin. A player shouldn’t have to withstand abuse in order to play in the NFL.