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Sticks And Stones

By Paige Brown

The bullying controversy surrounding the Miami Dolphins has proven that bullying has no age limit and no matter how strong you may look on the outside, words can break you down.

If you haven’t been following the story, Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin took leave after he was allegedly bullied by his teammate.

Dolphins guard Richie Incognito supposedly left voicemails, sent texts and pulled pranks on Martin, threatening his well being and bullying his teammate with racial slurs.

Incognito’s actions pushed Martin so far to the edge that he felt that it would be best to leave. Not just leave the locker room or the hotel they were staying at, but leave the team. No practice, no playing.

People are looking at Martin in an unfair light, accusing him of being a snitch or weak. But who is actually the weak one here? The one who took action and walked away from his bully…or the one who spent his time tormenting his own teammate?

Yahoo! Sports News reported that Incognito was bullied in third grade, being called a “whale” or “lardass,” insulting his weight. However, just because someone was bullied in elementary school doesn’t give them the right to threaten the life of someone else.

Aren’t NFL players supposed to be good role models? I surely would not want my child to know that their favorite player or idol bullied their teammate to their breaking point.

According to ESPN, Incognito left a voicemail on Martin’s phone saying, “Hey, wassup, you half n—– piece of [expletive]…I saw you on Twitter, you been training ten weeks. I want to [expletive] in your [expletive] mouth. I’m going to slap your real mother across the face (laughter). [Expletive] you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”

This leaves me, and I’m sure many others, speechless. There were texts sent to Martin as well, threatening specific members of his family and petty, pathetic teasing in the locker room.

No wonder he left. I sure would. These are the kinds of things you see in movies, although usually in a middle school age group.

The Dolphins, who at first supported Incognito, suspended him on Sunday after Martin’s family complained about the abuse and harassment. However, the team is definitely at fault when it comes to handling this type of situation the correct way.

Martin reached out to head coach Joe Philbin about the issues last spring. Nothing came from the talk since the organization assumed the problems concluded.

Along with the teasing in the locker rooms and the threatening and racist voicemails and texts, Martin’s teammates forced him, along with other rookies, to pay $15,000 for a trip to Vegas that he didn’t even go on.

Though making rookies pay large amount of money for trips and food is a “hazing” problem that the Dolphins franchise has been working towards stopping, it was just another issue for Martin to add to his laundry list of oppressions.

Remember that saying “sticks and stones make break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? Well this scenario shows just how wrong that statement is.

Just because an NFL player is portrayed as big and strong, doesn’t mean he can never hurt. Words can truly hurt a person, no matter how thick their skin may appear. Hopefully Incognito will not come back to play for the Dolphins and Martin will have the full support from friends, family, fans and teammates to make his comeback and show his talent.