Take 2: Is locker room bullying widespread?
Details emerged this week from the independent investigation into the Miami Dolphins bullying case. Sports editor Jon Styf and columnist Tom Musick discuss:
Musick: I'm not sure if you have any plans for the weekend, but if you are looking to feel miserable about life, I'd recommend sitting down and reading the highlights of the investigation into Richie Incognito and the Dolphins' treatment of Jonathan Martin.
Styf: Incognito should have been punished way before now. Football is the only place I think someone who continually acts like him would be harbored. In the fall of 2003, I covered the Michigan State football team. Drew Stanton was the backup quarterback and one of the best athletes on the team, so coach John L. Smith used him all year on special teams. They faced Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl and Incognito decided he would teach Smith (Alex Smith's uncle, BTW) a lesson so he cheapshotted Stanton in the knee, way away from the play, and tore his ACL. It wasn't a football play, it had nothing to do with football and there was zero chance Stanton would be involved in that play. That tells you all you need to know about Incognito. He never grew up from there.
Musick: I had forgotten about that bowl game. Not only did Incognito get away with being undisciplined, he got rewarded for it. After the St. Louis Rams drafted Incognito in the third round in 2005, then-coach Mike Martz (Bears fans might remember him) said he liked Incognito because he was "nasty" and the team needed that brand of toughness.
Styf: Pro football clearly isn't a normal workplace. The report acknowledges that. But, even then, Incognito and his line teammates went overboard. It's important to note that it wasn't just Incognito. Martin and an assistant trainer were up against John Jerry and Mike Pouncey too. Three on two, guys asked to intimidate each other to teach a lesson, "pattern of harrassment." Some people believe this will change the NFL locker room environment. I just think it will eliminate a few rogue ... what should I call them ... football players?
Musick: Good riddance. When the report came out, I wondered how much bullying and posturing goes on behind closed doors with the Bears or any other NFL team. I find it hard to believe that the Dolphins are the only franchise in which this is a problem, although they probably represent the worst-case scenario. I remember a few years ago walking up to interview Bears offensive lineman Josh Beekman, whom I'd spoken with before and always seemed cordial. Except this time, Olin Kreutz was at the next locker and shot Beekman a dirty look. Beekman mumbled something about needing to go to Bible study and said he wouldn't be able to talk. The whole thing seemed odd.
Styf: I'm just glad we don't do that here. I don't want you holding me down while Joe Stevenson gives me a wedgie and Jeff Arnold kicks me in the mouth while Tom Clegg cheers them on and Paul Wleklinski hurls insults.
Musick: I know that our company takes pride in the sign out front: Northwest Herald, wedgie free since 2003.