A Couple Examples Of ESPN Talking Heads Showing They Don’t Understand The Jonathan Martin Situation

  • Eric Goldschein

darren woodsonWhat’s “the line” as it pertains to being professional in an NFL locker room? As someone who has spent literally zero percent of his life in one of those places, I can’t say. But the conclusion we can draw from the Ted Wells report, released today, is “no telling your co-worker/teammate that [and I’m paraphrasing here] you’re going to fuck his squirting sister and slap his mother in the mouth and coerce him into giving you money and demean him every single day of his life.”

As expected, some people — mostly those who troll website comment sections and tweet under something like “PussyGettaDaRuffNeck” — are putting the onus on Jonathan Martin “This would all have gone away,” as the thought process commonly goes, “if that bitch Martin had stood up for himself.” Even people who agree that Incognito and company were over the line tend to add the caveats, such as “Martin is the same size” or “Martin is a man, a football player, a lineman” or “snitches get stitches” (there are too many tweets of this nature to count, but here’s a randomly selected example).

This was to be expected. Stupid things are tweeted and posted and blogged every day, on every topic. But it’s shocking when people who work for ESPN, the Worldwide Leader In Sports, also take this track. Here are just a few examples:

1) Todd Grisham, ESPN anchor:

This seems to miss the point, or demonstrates that Grisham did not read the report himself. What Incognito did went far beyond “goofing,” and no one should have to put up with it for a day, much less over a year. It wasn’t just a racial issue. It wasn’t just a rookie-veteran issue. It was a systemic problem that wouldn’t have been solved by laughing it off. Martin tried that. It failed.

2) Darren Woodson, ESPN… guy, former NFL player:

The most salient bit: “There was no line that was drawn in this thing… but at the same time, I think that all parties are involved are at fault in this situation, even Jonathan Martin… Because there’s at some point, especially in a locker room, it stays in the locker room. If there’s an issue it stays in the locker room. Deal with the problem within the locker room. Whether it be going to the coaches… there has to be levels before you go outside that locker room.”

Sorry, Darren, but as your partner Tedy Bruschi puts it, not everyone is like you. Not everyone can deal with these problems the same way you might. This was an unprecedented situation, where an immovable object (Martin’s feelings of inadequacy and depression) met an unstoppable force (Incognito’s relentless and mindless bullying) and created an unexpected result. It’s easy to look back in hindsight and say that going to Joe Philbin would have done something — and by the way, Philbin actually spoke to Martin’s father and promised to help his emotionally unstable lineman — but we don’t know that for sure.

It seems the only person who should have done things differently was Martin, if you believe Internet and ESPN trolls. Why is Martin the only one who had to change his behavior? This story is still new and raw, and it will take people (us included) time to process it. But it’s clear that it doesn’t matter if you’re an unpaid dick with a lame Twitter handle or respected sports commentator dick backed by corporate money — some people just don’t know how to handle a man who has feelings.

[h/t The Big Lead]