Locker room banter

I have admitted in previous posts to not caring for sports specifically watching them with the exception of the occasional Yankees game. However, some of the more controversial news stories from the world of sports has piqued my interest. I’ve been somewhat following the story of Martin (black) vs. Incognito (white), the bullying culture within the Dolphins franchise that caused Martin to quite the team and seek psychiatric help.

I understand locker room banter and teammates ribbing each other but the use of racial slurs and misogynistic comments is just disrespectful and unprofessional. I don’t know if this is prevalent in all locker rooms across all sports but it is deplorable that this sort of behavior is encouraged and permitted even if it takes place in the locker room. What’s even disturbing for me is that some, if not all the black players either participated in the verbal and psychological abuse or stood back and did nothing. Some of these football players even considered Incognito (a heavy set white guy) as an “honorary black man”, and thus do not mind him using or rather, calling Martin a “nigger”. I don’t care if you are black and calling another black man a “nigger” it is still offensive and has nothing but negative connotations.

I was also disturbed that some of the taunts against Martin included simulated sex acts against his mother and sister. How is that appropriate banter meant in good fun amongst teammates?

I recently read an article that points to two linemen on the team Pouncey (bi-racial) and Jerry (black) who also took part with Incognito in the abusive taunts against Martin. Based on the article, Jerry initiated the abuse by when Martin did not strike back against Jerry for calling him a “bitch”.

In an article that briefs the NFL commissioned investigative report, all three men were not only abusive towards Martin but to an Asian assistant trainer. I was appalled to read some of the racial epithet that these three men uttered. It shows their ignorance and lack of respect for others especially those who they considered weak.

As a result of this incident, it seems like the NFL is preparing to make modifications to their policy to encourage proper conduct, respect, and professionalism amongst players. I’d be curious as to what sort of codes of conduct and guidelines the NFL will create to curb the abuse and harassment amongst players, and if it will make a difference.

I will continue to follow this story as it develops. I am curious as to how these players will be punished if at all. Incognito is currently suspended indefinitely. I wonder if Martin will make a formal statement regarding the issue and if he will return to football? There’s so much more I’d like to comment but I’ll leave it for now.

You can read the official report here.



3 responses to “Locker room banter

  1. As a person of color, the Incognito/Martin story bothered me too, for many reasons. The racism/racial epithets, the sexism, the misogyny… the whole story reeks.

  2. I think it’s bullshit that it was said in good fun. I think there was underlying resentment against Martin because of what they presumed of his class/status. I could be mistaken but Martin comes from a well educated family and he’s well educated with a degree in classics from Stanford. He comes from a lineage of Harvard graduates.

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