Now there's a popular headline sure to get lots of likes and retweets. Creation Date Sunday, 17 November 2013. Hits 8176
As with any story, it is hard to say what happened unless you were there yourself. So why do I feel the need to post an article defending Richie Incognito? Because I can recognize a good snow job when I see one, and there is a blizzard coming from Jonathan Martin and company on this deal. Now to be fair, I am well aware that I am in the minority opinion on this one. Chances are if you are reading this you already have an opinion on this topic. Either I am preaching to the choir or I am dealing with a skeptic who wants to get a good chuckle at a brainwashed Dolphins fan defending the indefensible. So while I typically take the approach of building a good case, let me lay the best logical argument I have on you to kick this thing off.
Check out this tweet from Jonathan Martin's lawyer David Cornwell. This tweet is to clarify the text message that Jonathan Martin sent to Richie Incognito.
JMart's text 2 Richie Incognito. U decide..... pic.twitter.com/IrgdNnhGe2— David Cornwell (@wmdavidcornwell) November 10, 2013
Why is it that when Richie tells us the content of a message the Martin camp feels the need to release the meme that was used so we can see it, but when they want to tell us what was said in the voicemail they don't release the audio so we can hear it, we just get a written transcript? How come it is only important to get the full picture before we decide about his client, but not before we decide about Incognito?
Now that (perhaps) I have your attention, let's consider what is said in the tweet. What is there for me to decide? Incognito says he received the tweet, this is an admission that Martin sent it, so what's left? Am I supposed to be deciding if it is a threatening tweet? I don't think it is. It appears to me to be a joke that was sent from one friend to another. In fact, the only way that I could imagine that it would be threatening is if the guy who sent it had a beef with the guy who received it and wanted to threaten him in a manner that could be dismissed as a joke later. Come to think of it, why in the hell would Cornwell tweet this? If he is saying it was a threat then his client is in the wrong. If he is saying it was not a threat then he is proving the nature of the relationship as Incognito laid it out? But that isn't the only questionable tweet from Martin's attorney. Check this one out.
@GregAnthony50 ... But it is freezing in Atl. Not ready for golf to be over . Anybody got issues in MIA, PHX, LAX? ;)— David Cornwell (@wmdavidcornwell) October 24, 2013
My question now is, did Martin seek out Cornwell looking for a lawyer or did Cornwell seek out Martin looking for a client? The Miami Dolphins are located in one of the locations mentioned, and Martin lives in Southern California. Is this a little case of ambulance chasing? Here is what we know. Martin left the team on Monday, October 28th. He hired Cornwell on November 7th. Who contacted whom to setup this relationship?
What relevance does any of this have? Well, let's weigh up the situation. Jonathan Martin leaves the team after an incident where he sits down at a table in the cafeteria and the rest of the guys at the table get up and walk away. Seems odd. Then we find out he is seeking medical help for some emotional issues. Okay, in that context perhaps there were bigger problems on his mind.
Next we find out about a voicemail left by Incognito to Jonathan Martin where he calls him a half n**** and threatens to kill him. Wow, no wonder he cracked huh? But then we learn that Martin had texted Incognito a week earlier saying "I will murder your whole f****** family." We also learn that the voicemail predated the Martin walk off by several months. Were they fighting this whole time? Not exactly.
Now we learn about this incident here where Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin worked together to prank a third teammate. If pranking and hazing is bullying, and Richie is a bully and Jonathan is a victim, then why are they doing it together? And placing all of this aside, this is all child's play compared to the $15,000 Martin was forced to pay for Richie Incognito's trip to Vegas. Or was he? According to Lydon Murtha, Martin is misrepresenting what actually happened here.
In my experience, he’s not the kind of person who would extort someone for $15,000. The notion that Martin was forced to pay for a trip he didn’t attend has been misrepresented.
Every year, as tradition, the offensive line goes on a big Vegas trip. Everything is paid for in advance, from hotels to a private jet to show tickets. Martin originally verbally committed to the trip, then later backed out after everything was booked. Now, if you can’t go because of an emergency then it’s okay, but to say you’re going and then decide you don’t want to spend the money later? Everything was paid for, and then when it was time to pay up he didn’t want to go anymore. You don’t do that to your brothers. The veterans who paid for it, including Incognito and others, asked for Martin’s share, and he gave it to them. End of story.
Now for the sake of intellectual honesty, if it was believed that Incognito was bullying Martin by forcing him to pay for a trip he wasn't going on, wouldn't it be bullying by Martin to force others to pay for a trip he had committed to then declined when the bill came due? Furthermore, the Martin camp has been accused of leaving the closing line off the infamous voicemail transcript.
There's another thing. According to a source close to Incognito, the transcript of the voice mail is not complete. It omits the last line.
After Incognito went on this apparent diatribe, his voice softens, and matter-of-factly he says, "Ok, call me back."
And ... Martin called him back, the source said.
Which leads me back to my original point. Why does Martin's lawyer release the text message to place his client in a better light but release only a transcript of the voicemail and not the entire recording? For all intents and purposes, it appears that this case is being handled in this way because it is all smoke and mirrors.
I can't speak to the specifics of the case because I was not there. I do, however, know that the Miami Dolphins opened there locker room to the media and the 51 remaining players seemed to unanimously back Incognito. None of them reported any behavior that appeared to be bullying to them. Only one man perceived things that way, and that man had checked out for help with emotional issues he was struggling with. Many people blamed these issues on the alleged treatment he suffered at the hands of Incognito. Isn't it equally as possible that his perception of the treatment was based on his mental health and not the other way around? We know that people struggling with these issues will often "take things the wrong way" and be offended by something that would typically not bother them, or cry over songs that typically make them happy.
Jonathan Martin is a much more likeable guy than Incognito. Incognito is an obnoxious guy with an abrasive personality. At the very least, he used racially charged and vulgar language. If you don't like him, then you are entitled and you are in good company. But to convict a man of being a bully on such weak evidence is wrong. It is, in fact, no better than the behavior he stands accused of. What makes us better than Richie if we all band together out of dislike for him and what he stands for to punish him for an act that he likely did not commit? What would that be if not bullying? If you wish to call him a racist, I believe he has given you that ammunition. Call him vulgar, I am positive he has earned that one. But if you want to call him bully, you'll need a lot more evidence than this flimsy case compiled with half stories and cherry picked evidence.