Murphy: Ignorance is bliss when it comes to how the NFL meat is made

11/9/2013

If anything can be learned from the Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin incident it is this: There is more than one side to every story.

If anything can be learned from the Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin incident it is this: There is more than one side to every story.

I don't think much of Incognito. I haven't since his days at Nebraska, and nothing he has done in the NFL has changed my mind.

The latest incident, the racist, homophobic remarks and threats against Martin, only cemented my opinion of Incognito.

However, as the days have gone by and more information is learned, it is obvious Incognito has friends who think he is a great guy; a leader on the Miami Dolphins. There have been reports that Incognito had befriended Martin.

We also have learned he was encouraged by Dolphins hierarchy to try and toughen up Martin and that Martin was viewed as aloof by some of his teammates. It also has come out that Incognito lacks the ability to discern which players can take what he was dishing out and which ones cannot. Martin, clearly, wanted no part of what Incognito was offering.

None of this justifies what Incognito did. It does explain a little more what was going on in the Dolphins locker room.

It's also done something else. It's pealed back a layer or two of what goes on behind the scenes of sports.

And we don't like it.

We don't like that there is hazing to this degree.

We don't like the language used.

We don't like the threats.

Most of all we don't like knowing.

We would rather turn on the television, watch football and not know how these men — who were once little boys running around in backyards — have become these menacing behemoths.

It's like a hotdog. It may taste great at a picnic, but we don't want to know how they are made.

There is still so much that the public does not know about this incident.

Martin has yet to come forward with the details of what he says happened.

He left the team and sought mental help, but has not spoken in public.

Incognito has been suspended, and some have said his days with the Dolphins are over, and that his career might be to.

I don't know.

If the facts prove he was encouraged by Miami personnel to toughen up Martin, they will be dealt with by the NFL.

One thing is almost certain, the league will look at hazing and how rookies and young players are dealt with by veterans.

It's one thing to order someone to carry equipment, it's another to say you will kill them.

Football is a tough, brutal game, and that attitude is not limited to the field.

Players do not go from mild-mannered gentlemen to monsters and then back again.

Some are able to compartmentalize what they do on the field and not let it engulf them. Others are always aggressive bullies on and off the field. Yet some are never able to ramp up that testosterone. They are always quiet and reserved.

Somehow they are all expected to come together for the good of the team.

Too bad it's not that simple.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.

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