When Big Men Refuse to Fight

This week’s dustup between former teammates Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito and the Miami Dolphins organization has been woven into a web of controversy. Incognito, the white veteran leader on the Dolphins, was put in charge of toughening up Martin, a black second-year guard out of Stanford who played tackle to Incognito’s guard on the offensive line.

That meant Incognito, considered by some teammates to be an “honorary black,” was given full license to haze Martin, and he did so ruthlessly. Allegations range from leaving threatening, racist-laden voice mails on Martin’s phone to making him fund a Las Vegas trip for the veterans, in which Martin coughed up $15,000 but didn’t attend.

And when Martin had had enough, what did he choose to do? Walk away, leaving behind whatever tough-guy reputation he had left and a nice-sized paycheck. To hear some men tell it, that’s not what a real man does.


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