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Finally, someone other than pundits talking

November 12, 2013
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor (mmathison@heraldstaronline.com) , The Herald-Star

It was refreshing to see Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross break his silence regarding the alleged bullying issue that has been all over the news the past week-plus.

Ross is apparently going to meet Wednesday with 6-foot-5, 312-pound Richard Martin, the subject of the alleged bullying by 6-3, 319-pound Rich Incognito.

"I look forward to that meeting. I think that can help us move forward," Ross said in an Associated Press story. "I'd like to hear from him what had happened, why he felt that way and what we did and what we could have done to prevent something like this from happening. I want to hear the circumstances, the facts."

Regardless of what side you are on, if you picked one, this issue is more than one football player, one locker room and one workplace.

This really is an epidemic across our country.

Far too many teenagers or pre-teens are killing themselves because of the bullying, including cyber-bullying, they endure on a daily basis.

Just because it is one 30-year-old man seemingly pitted against a 24-year-old does not make this any less than what it is, or appears to be - bullying.

The problem here is that no one has head from Martin publicly.

He apparently had a chance to tell head coach Joe Philbin what had been going on when Philbin visited him in a hospital after Martin walked out on his responsibilities.

There are more questions that need to be answered and maybe Martin will shed some light to Ross.

"It couldn't have been a worse nightmare," said Ross at a press conference before the game with Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football.

"We simply don't know what happened or didn't happen yet," said team president and chief executive officer Tom Garfinkel. "We want to know the truth."

As do a lot of people.

The NFL is atop that list because it has some damage control to do, especially since Incognito is and has been getting a ton of support from those inside the brotherhood of the locker room.

There are many who feel that Martin broke the code when he walked out and this became public.

There are many who feel that Martin should have kept this in house so no one on the outside world would have been privy to life in the NFL.

There are many who feel that Incongito is the good guy here.

There are many who feel this starts with Philbin and then branches out.

"Joe Philbin is probably one of the most organized people I've ever met," Ross said. "When I interviewed him that stood out, but what also stood out was his character. I don't think there is a better person, a more respected person, a more caring person in the National Football League than Joe Philbin."

There are too many stories out there about who allegedly did what and said what.

Until Ross meets with Martin and Incognito and the NFL finishes its investigation, nobody but Martin and Incognito really know the answer.

Also from the story: Ross said to he has formed an independent advisory group that includes Tony Dungy, Don Shula, Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Curtis Martin to review organizational conduct policies and to make recommendations on areas for improvement.

"We need to look at ourselves. We have to examine everything internally," Ross said. "This is so appalling to me. I know I'm capable of overreacting.

"I want to get everybody's feedback because we all know the football locker room is a different workplace than most of us are accustomed to. I don't want to make any excuses."

Excuses are like ... well, you know.

Personally, I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that Incognito is getting more love from the brotherhood than Martin.

That, folks, is an indictment on the NFL and that really isn't good at all.

But, it is also an indictment of our culture when there are a ton of people who completely back Incognito and think Martin is nothing more than the polar opposite of a man.

I do recommend that people watch the rant by Shannon Sharpe on the subject of the N word used in locker rooms.

I said in my Monday column that the Indian Creek football team had won 21 of its last 26.

Wrong words.

The Redskins, led by head coach Andrew Connor, who's not going anywhere for those who are asking, had won 21 of 26, before finishing this season at 2-4.

And, before you start whining about the 2-4 finish, the Redskins lost to three playoff teams and a Harrison Central team that, if the Week 10 Redskins had shown up that night, were still going to lose to the Huskies.

And, thinking anything other than that is going a disservice to how well Harrison Central played that night.

Sometimes, and I know it's really hard for a lot of people, the other team just plays better than you.

Who has had a better ministry - Billy Graham or the man who picked up Graham and took him to youth group all those years ago?

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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