New York Giants defensive back Antrel Rolle has never been shy about speaking his mind. As expected, he had an animated opinion on Tuesday when asked about the situation going on between Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. Just don’t expect many people to agree with it.
While many have blasted Incognito for allegedly hurling racial slurs at Martin and threatening to kill him, Rolle said he feels Martin is just as much to blame for the incident since he did not stick up for himself.
“Was Richie Incognito wrong? Absolutely. I think the other guy is just as much to blame because he’s allowed this to happen,” Rolle said on his weekly WFAN appearance, via Ebenezer Samuel of the NY Daily News. “This football league is not built of men who try to bully other men. You’re a grown-ass man. You should be able to stand up for yourself.”
Some would argue that Rolle’s opinion highlights one of the main issues the NFL has with its culture. Rather than simply ripping Incognito for taking the concept of harassment and rookie hazing too far, Rolle decided to blame the victim. Based on Rolle’s standards, all NFL players should be macho enough to stand up for themselves.
“Something like that would never ever happen to myself, because I would never allow it,” Rolle added. “At this level, you’re a man.”
Rolle also noted that hazing is “acceptable” as long as it is not taken to a personal level, which I think most would agree with. Giving a rookie an embarrassing haircut or forcing him to carry shoulder pads is one thing. Harassing him, using racial slurs, insulting his family and threatening him is an entirely different concept. Martin is not less of a man for reaching his boiling point, despite what Rolle and others may believe.