There is a lot of talk on the news about an NFL ‘hazing’ scandal. I am not a football fan, so I don’t know a lot about the team or the league, but I do know a bit about the law here.
Apparently, Richie Incognito was bullying a fellow team member. He sent texts to his teammate that contained racial slurs, threats of physical violence, and sexual content.
Multiple sources confirmed to ESPN that the following is a transcript
of a voice message Incognito left for Martin in April 2013, a year
after Martin was drafted:
“Hey, wassup, you half n—– piece of s—. I saw you on Twitter,
you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s— in your f—ing mouth. [I’m
going to] slap your f—ing mouth. [I’m going to] slap your real mother
across the face [laughter]. F— you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill
In this case, the other players on the team took it a step further, and got up from the lunch table when he sat down, in an apparent attempt to ostracize him. That takes it from being an isolated act of a single player to an organizational problem for his employer. Especially when it turns out that the coach wanted the player harassed, to “toughen him up.”
Even worse for the NFL, it turns out that the senior players shake down the new ones in every team, and force them to pay for trips, dinners, and other expensive ‘gifts’. ESPN reported that Incognito allegedly got Martin to contribute $15,000
to help finance a trip to Las Vegas by a group of Dolphins even though
Martin preferred not to travel with them. Martin gave Incognito the
money, fearing the consequences if he did not.
Why does a group of athletes, all millionaires, need a rookie to pay for anything? Harassment, pure and simple.
It seems that rookie players are often hazed, with new players being forced to pick up dinner tabs for the team of tens of thousands of dollars. According to a former Dolphins teammate, Ricky Williams:
“Really I haven’t seen much hazing,” he said in an interview on “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
said it’s a well-known “rite of passage” for a high draft pick to pick
up a big dinner bill for some other players on the team.
sign that contract there’s a lot of rules, written and unwritten, that
you are expected to follow,” he said. “For me, this is something that
should be handled internally. I don’t think the media, I don’t think
fans, I don’t think anyone outside is really in a position to really
fully understand what occurs inside of a locker room and inside of a
Of course, this is the type of behavior that jocks display and get away with, because they are good at playing a game. Acting like juiced up idiots, drugs, alcohol, DUI, being general asshats. They get a pass for
their entire lives, and then are surprised when finally someone calls
them on it.
So now we have a league of billionaire team owners who employ hundreds of millionaires, all of whom are now demonstrably guilty of racial, sexual, and physical harassment. The lawyers are drooling…