I’ll admit: I’m not a New England Patriots fan even though I’m from New Hampshire. In fact, I’m not a big fan of about half of the Pats fans, mostly because they’re obnoxious and better than the team I love, the Dallas Cowboys. But one thing I do like about the Patriots is how they run their organization from the top down. They would never have allowed Jonathan Martin to be bullied the way he allegedly has been in Miami.
New England has taken some chances over the years on players with some character issues like Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, and Chad Ochocinco. Despite each player causing their own antics with previous teams, that stopped once they donned that flying Elvis on their helmet…or whatever that thing is supposed to be. Part of the reason for those players shaping up is due to smart risk-taking by the New England brass. The other is the fact that head coach Bill Belichick isn’t going to put up with anyone’s shit. Have you seen his grumpy face? Better question: have you ever seen him smile?
According to two sources who have talked with Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Dolphins’ coaching staff repeatedly asked lineman Richie Incognito to “toughen up” teammate Jonathan Martin. The 2012 second-round pick was apparently so scared of the threats allegedly made by Incognito that he left the team for two days during organized team activities in the summer. It’s worth noting that Kelly can be a huge tool at times but if his sources are telling the truth, Miami’s whole organization needs to look itself in the mirror. The allegations surrounding Incognito’s harassment of Martin range from making him pay for obscene checks at restaurants to death threats and racial slurs.
While Incognito was allegedly threatening his teammate’s life this past summer, the Patriots were dealing with the fact that Aaron Hernandez was indicted by a grand jury in a murder investigation. As news began to break about just how serious the allegations against Hernandez were, Robert Kraft and his people outright cut the guy. One could take the hindsight approach and say the Patriots should have known Hernandez was a scumbag years before he was sent to prison. While that’s a valid standpoint, the team did everything it should to distance itself from Hernandez and try to limit the impact it had on team members.
The Dolphins have suspended Incognito indefinitely since the story broke about his alleged treatment of Martin. While that was necessary, the fact remains that this sort of thing shouldn’t have happened in Miami in the first place. It certainly shouldn’t have been encouraged by coaching staff members. Since the turn of the new millennium, many other NFL organizations have wanted to emulate the Patriots for their recent success. Maybe the Dolphins should take a cue from their AFC East rivals and you know, not allow juvenile-minded adults and racists to play for them. I don’t care how physical a player Incognito is, he clearly shouldn’t be allowed in any NFL locker room.
The Patriots might have inside secrets regarding how they found Tom Brady in the sixth round of the draft or how they calmed Moss down. There’s no secret regarding why they haven’t had an issue like the one in Miami: they have a no-nonsense coach and plenty of players and staff members with common sense and decency.
[Photo credit: Lynne Sladky/AP]