Teammates deny bullying Jonathan Martin


The reports that an abusive environment led Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin to leave the team has been denied by some of his teammates.

Fellow Dolphins offensive linemen Tyson Clabo and Nate Garner both told the Palm Beach Post they like having Martin as a teammate and look forward to playing alongside him again.

I want him to come back to work,” Clabo said. “He’s a talented young football player. I can’t say what he’s feeling. I know if and when he wants to come back that I will be there to shake his hand.”

Garner said any teasing Martin took from teammates was “normal stuff” that goes on in any locker room and not an indication that his teammates dislike him.

“He’s a great dude,” Garner said. “He’s a good ball player.”

Of course, just because teammates perceived what they were doing as normal stuff doesn’t mean Martin perceived it that way. If anything positive can come from this incident, perhaps football players can consider that even talk that seems like “normal stuff” in the locker room can still be hurtful.

62 responses to “Teammates deny bullying Jonathan Martin

  1. I think it’s been pretty well established that the “normal stuff” that goes on in an NFL locker room ranges from innapropriate to just plain unimaginably wrong. I get that it isn’t the same thing as working in an office job or something, but still, some of the stuff just leaves you shaking your head.

  2. Rule #1 in ‘team’ survival is to laugh at yourself and agree with whatever your teammates throw at you.

    Bullies (teammate hazers) move on if they can’t get to you. Or they accept you as one of their own.

    You don’t have to like it. Just accept it as a reality and deal with it…

  3. Let’s get a team of psychologists into that locker room right now to straighten out all the macho dudes who don’t know how to relate to fellow team members in a sensitive and caring manner.

  4. Get ready for this kind of stuff to become more common. We’re starting to get the “I’m perfect and can’t fail” generation rolling into the real world now.

    Be ready for people who can’t take an ounce of honesty or a simple joke.

    Kid’s are loosing it over stuff that was done at the lunch table EVERY DAY of EVERY YEAR when I was a kid. And I’m not quite 30 yet.

  5. Wait. So you’re telling an NFL locker room has dudes giving each other crap all the time and maybe calling each other inappropriate names? There needs to be an investigation. I always assumed it was a lot like the offices at Google or Microsoft. Shocking!

  6. rolltide510 says:
    Nov 1, 2013 11:39 AM
    No leaders in that locker room.

    Wake, Incognito, Soliai, and Starks have all stepped up as leaders on that team. Tannehill has also done a good job taking that leadership position only being 2 years in.

  7. The only logic position at this point is that it is impossible to tell without knowing the nature and frequency of the specific comments.

  8. Maybe if you all were just a bit nicer to each other and put your attention-seeking egos to rest for awhile you’d be a better unit instead of one of the weakest in the league. Just saying…

  9. Can anyone recall another case where a guy actually left the team due to something like this? I have no doubt bad stuff happens in NFL locker rooms to some guys, but this would have to be either totally over-the-top or Martin was a particularly sensitive individual. And as an offensive lineman, he’d be able stand up for himself, so it’s not like the kicker was being picked on.

  10. things like this only happen when you lack the culture and camraderie that permeate the locker rooms of great teams. the dolphins clearly have a ways to go.

  11. There is a very easy way to find out…
    Ask Jake Long what was going on last yr. He spent more time with that line then anyone last yr and he has no obligation at this point to defend either Martin or the remaining players on the Dolphins.

  12. Obviously there is more to the story and the NFLPA and Dolphins management need to be involved. Either it was just “normal stuff” and Martin needs help. Or there is an issue with the team and they should be disciplined.

    I don’t think we should be holding a kangaroo court and determining which side is wrong without knowing a lot more than we know right now.

  13. Okay, look, let’s face it, the Steelers have been known to win a Super Bowl or two — or six. Prestige follows us where we go. Therefore, we understand why we have haters. We embrace you all.

    Go us.

  14. I find it hard to imagine a 6′-5″, 320 lbs grown ass man being bullied. Standford educated, no less. He’s probably bigger and smarter than 95% of the men in that locker room. I suppose without being on the other side of those locker room doors we can’t really know.

  15. Dude is an o lineman. Could’ve been bigger as a child and was teased back then and is sensitive to those type of things. If he can’t handle it than they shouldn’t do it

  16. Right…. Guys just don’t walk away from their jobs as pro NFL players because of “normal stuff”. Man up and admit your mistake and apologize and see if he wants to come back.

  17. Bottom line … the offensive line has to function as a cohesive unit. Anything that disrupts that cohesion is detrimental to the team. The fact is that these clowns were more focused on giving Martin a hard time than doing their jobs.

    The Miami defense outscored the Miami offense. The offensive line have nothing to be proud of, even after the win last night.

    The answers Clabo and Martin gave to the press don’t mean a thing. Bullies lie when confronted. Whenever possible, they blame the victim. The funny part is when you stand up to a bully and hit him back, he’s the first one to start crying about.

  18. You have to know who you’re dealing with. Some people are okay with getting pranked or taking a little ribbing and will laugh or let insults roll off their backs. Other people are just wired differently and don’t particularly like that kind of thing. If you know your teammate is part of the latter, what is the point of going after him? Just find someone else to rag on.

  19. If Martin was the victim of over the top abuse, then it’s pathetic and nobody should be okay with that. Just because hazing and taunting has happened in the past doesn’t mean we can’t learn and do better. As for posters who want to prove their manhood by dismissing someone else’s suffering, that’s part of the problem. In any case, if Martin is dealing with a mental health issue or something else, I hope fans, the organization, and his teammates will treat him with dignity and concern, just as they would want if they were in his shoes. Whatever the truth is, I wish him well.

  20. I worked in industry with mostly male co-workers. There was lots of banter, and if someone found a score spot, it got poked (in fun of course). But I also saw times when this crossed the line into work place harassment, making it hard for the person to even come to work. I know the NFl plays by their own rules, but it is still a business that falls under work place laws.

  21. If Dallas can put up with Dez Bryant, then surely the Dolphins players can be civil to Martin. It is not “normal” to drive off a second round draft pick and contributing player by doing the “normal” stuff. In any other workplace, this “normal” stuff would be considered harassment and subject HR intervention and possibly legal proceedings. Why should he have to put up with stuff that would be firing offenses in a McDonalds or an office?

  22. Wake, Incognito, Soliai, and Starks have all stepped up as leaders on that team. Tannehill has also done a good job taking that leadership position only being 2 years in.

    Richie “Guy” Incognito is one of the leaders now? He’s quite possibly the biggest goon in the NFL.

    The other four seem like good guys but aren’t on the same unit Martin is/was.

  23. If Mante Teo, with the fake fiance fame, can survive the locker room in his rookie year, it would seem most people would be able to take it as well.

  24. The problem with “bullying” is knowing when to stop. It doesn’t take a mind-reader to know when your teasing and abuse has reached a sensitive state. Camaraderie in the trenches is not built on love and hugs, especially amongst young men. They are still immature and stunted (having been kept “protected from growing up” by self-serving Colleges and Coaches).

    But knowing when to stop is simple – when the “victim” loses his temper and erupts or when he goes silent and withdraws. The latter is not easily recognized by the typical non-empathetic star personality of the NFL.

    Until it’s too late.

  25. We have no idea what really went on and I am not defending anyone or saying bullying is ok. There is laws in place to stop any kind of harassment. But lets be honest, we experience it pretty much on a daily bases one way or another. Here is the other thing. We see players bullying other players every Sunday. When they are jabbering back and forth on the field, do you think one guy is telling the other how great of a cook his mama is?

    IMO Martin will never play in the league again. How can he? If I am a coach I am going to wonder if he is mentally strong enough to over come adversity. Martin also needs to take responsibility. DId he report the bullying? Did he try to let his team mates know that their actions was upsetting him?

  26. Why was the Dolphins stadium barely half full last night?


    It wasn’t. It was just that half their fans came dressed as the Invisible Man for Halloween.

  27. Yeah, these guys sound too much like Eddie Haskell now. “Good evening, Mr. Cleaver. Have you seen Johnathan Martin around? Golly, I just wanna shake his hand and welcome him to our football team.”

  28. Let’s face it. Kids enter into the NFL, and their growth is stunted immediately. They are always 21 years old… In some ways. It’s tough to become a man there without proper leadership from coaches, teammates, and other mentors. If a team is lacking mentors in this form, and the player doesn’t have a spiritual path on his own, it can lead to major depression at some point. This is clearly the case with the Dolphins.

  29. I take issue with the Dolphins referring to this as an illness, every person on the planet has a snap point. If the people doing the taunting cannot read body cues facial cues to know they are past the line…..they are the ones with the problem. Everybody has a snapping point.

  30. If you back a dog into a corner… will snap. In humans the reaction has been around since DNA…..if a guy snaps he is hopefully smart enough to leave……trust me, prisons are filled with guys that go the baseball bat route. Our locker room has a rule….if you are teasing a guy and he is laughing along with you…fine….if he isnt….zip it.

  31. None of you on here have ever been in the Dolphin locker room, so how can you possibly know what went on? It’s just typical of fans of every other team, trying to figure out what happened. Worry about your own teams, because some of them have their problems that’s for sure.
    I am sure the Dolphins will figure it out, they figured out a WIN last night!!!

  32. Radio station hosts skewer players for poor play. In Miami, this year that player is Martin for the offense. The defense doesn’t have ‘that guy’ identified. So that’s a lot for a young guy.

    Martin is playing out of position and perhaps he is frustrated by it and powerless he can’t do anything to change that. He may have reached his breaking point from ribbing by his team mates, thus his outburst.

    The full story is not out yet. So I’m inclined to believe the team mates. I also believe Martin is under incredible career threatening scrutiny because he is not performing well and when framed on some bullying canvas we created, it takes away from one possible truth. He is not as good as we thought he was and he is feeling the pressure. People tend to project a lot in these circumstances too.

    He is getting help. What help. Tackle better? Or deal with the pressure better? Now the union is involved. His team mates will be cautious about him. Nobody wants to be branded a bully so I certainly hope he realizes his interactions with team mates will not go beyond the superficial banter when he returns to the clubhouse. In any event, I hope he comes out OK in the end.

  33. Interesting to know what the details are here. The Army unit I was in had some tools that thought that new troops needed to be hazed. Most of the unit did not participate and quickly new people realized that you don’t have to listen to or put up with any of that crap.

  34. New reports say Incognito was the main culprit. The NFL and NFLPA are both investigating Incognito and Pouncey for what they say is excessive harrasment and has been nonstop since training camp of last season. That locker room must b a joke! I thought Philbin was a better coach than it appears now!

  35. Clearly there is NO leadership in that locker room. This would never happen in a locker room with a Manning, Brady, Brees, or even a Ray Lewis type of stand up Leader!

  36. You don’t know his pain? Maybe he is protecting his teammates by speaking out loud on this sensitive subject not just in the NFL but our children’ s school, work place, office, any environment where one can bully another. He showed us its ok to speak out and stand up for yourself the right way. I say hats off to you sir and hope the investigation goes as it should for you.

  37. If he can’t ‘stand up’ to the ‘bullies’ on his own team, how the heck can he stand up to the ‘bullies’ on the other team’s defensive line?

    This is, after all, professional football.

    I must also make note of the rather fragrant fact that the word ‘hurtful’ was used in this piece – without sarcasm. It’s only a matter of time until ‘supportive’ and other such frilly adjectives appear, and from there it’s only a hop skip and a jump to all aspiring sportswriters being forced to take a sensitivity test – conceived, written and administered by mike florio – if such is not already the case.

    FYI – I am old, fat, white, retired, insensitive and (this is the most terrible admission) – when I take my dog for a walk in the park I DON’T TAKE A PLASTIC BAG TO PICK UP DOGGIE DOO-DOO. He goes where he wants, and if you slip and fall on it at some later time – that’s life in the big city.

    Lesson to be learned – keep your eyes open in the park because – feces occur.

  38. Let’s say all the nasty guys in his own locker room tell him how sorry they are for their behavior and he comes back – What do you think he’s going to hear from across the line his first game back and is he going to get upset and leave because the opposition is saying inappropiate things and not being nice to him?

  39. Maybe, but that’s a personal decision with pros and cons either way. Getting abuse from one’s teammates about it, IF that’s what happened, shouldn’t have to factor into an already difficult decision.

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