Miami Dolphins players repeatedly fined Jonathan Martin for being soft, per a report, which could be a sign of the “locker room” and “football culture” that got to the young lineman, leading him to abruptly leave the team.
Martin has now been away from the Dolphins for over two weeks since leaving the team following a prank pulled on him in the cafeteria. Martin’s representatives have said that constant harassment and bullying over the past year and a half led to Martin’s departure from the team, and now we have a better understanding of what kind of treatment he was receiving.
Sports Illustrated NFL reporter Jim Trotter joined “Amani & Eytan” on NBC Sports Radio Monday and shared an example of the locker room culture in Miami that may have bothered Martin. According to Trotter, Dolphins players repeatedly fined Martin for being soft.
“I spoke to one player who was on the Dolphins the last couple of years, and we were speaking about Jonathan Martin,” Trotter began, “and he said that the Dolphins have what they call a ‘sensitivity fine,’ and it’s for players that they deem to be soft on or off the field. And he said that they repeatedly targeted Jonathan Martin for that to the point that one time — whether it was playful or not — they even talked about fining him a game check because he was so soft.”
Trotter said that to his knowledge, players on both sides of the ball were involved in this fining practice, which he described as part of the locker room culture for the Dolphins.
We know that Martin received vulgar text messages, such as the one from a teammate who talked in crude terms about wanting to gang bang Martin’s sister. We know that Richie Incognito reportedly held offensive line meetings at a strip club and fined those who didn’t attend. Martin’s lawyer alleges that Martin “endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate, and daily vulgar comments” from his teammates. There was also the infamous voicemail left for Martin by Incognito. But this is the first time we’ve heard about another story that would explain how Martin just didn’t fit in the Dolphins’ locker room.
Many teams have these sorts of kangaroo courts where they fine teammates for little things here and there. It’s a way players on teams have some fun, keep it loose and bond. But when you’re repeatedly picking on someone for being soft, it’s easy to see how that would affect the player’s psyche and confidence.
Now the question is whether Martin was legitimately soft as a player and unfit to compete in the NFL — which seems to be the message coming from the Dolphins’ players/locker room — or whether Martin just didn’t play well because the environment surrounding him brought out the worst in him, rather than the best. There’s really only one way to answer that question, and that is to have Martin play for another team and see how he does.
Full Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin history:
Jonathan Martin reportedly went AWOL after cafeteria prank
Jonathan Martin reportedly called ‘Big Weirdo,’ bullied by teammates
Richie Incognito said to be one of Jonathan Martin’s main tormenters
Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito text message conversation
Jonathan Martin reportedly left Dolphins because of emotional issues, not bullying
Jonathan Martin ‘genuinely scared’ of what Richie Incognito might do to him
Richie Incognito suspended indefinitely by Dolphins
Richie Incognito reportedly told Jonathan Martin ‘I’ll kill you’ in racially charged voicemail
Report: Richie Incognito will never play for Dolphins again
Video: Richie Incognito dropped N-bomb during fit of rage at a bar
Antrel Rolle: Jonathan Martin is a ‘grown-ass man,’ just as much to blame as Incognito
Dolphins coaches reportedly asked Richie Incognito to toughen up Jonathan Martin
Richie Incognito makes first comments, says ‘this will pass’
Dolphins players reportedly felt Richie Incognito was ‘honorary’ black man
Brian Hartline: Jonathan Martin laughed at voicemail
Tyson Clabo: Jonathan Martin should stand up and be a man
Jeff Ireland reportedly advised Jonathan Martin to punch Richie Incognito
Richie Incognito accused of sexual harassment at 2012 golf event
Dolphins player told Jonathan Martin he was going to f— his sister
Richie Incognito reportedly held O-line meetings at strip clubs
Richie Incognito reportedly feels ‘shocked’ and ‘betrayed’ by Jonathan Martin
Miami Dolphins fans support Richie Incognito with signs