Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Fifty-One: The Charmin-Soft States of America

It’s a shame sometimes how a society mentally shifts, in terms behavior-wise.

Sometimes, it is for the common good that old ideals are rendered obsolete thinking. Take for example, the whole idea of being un-American in the 1950s, mostly with the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) that started a witch-hunt allover the country fro pretty much anyone who had a dissenting idea of our government. Now, this line of thinking is pretty much the one last thing we have to express different views on how this government operates to keep it honest.

However, when it comes to standing up for yourself and fighting “bullying”, this country has gotten so sensitive and soft, that regular action that was perceived as normal behavior is now treated as treacherous acts by despicable human beings.  This seems to happen more often now; to where people are afraid to interact with others for fear that any aggressiveness will be portrayed as being a bully. Not only this, but now people are no longer taught to stand up for themselves, but to simply allow themselves to take abuse, go to the authorities, and hope the society around them will pity them.

The latest national case is the turmoil going in the Miami Dolphins locker room between Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito.

For those who don’t watch football, I’ll summarize what’s been happening:

Incognito, a veteran lineman, apparently bullied Martin, a rookie offensive lineman. As the story started to reveal itself through sources, Incognito was “old” by someone on the team to ‘toughen’ Martin up during summer workouts. Incognito then started to be aggressive towards Martin, making him pay upwards of $15,000 for meals and trips for other teammates, threatening to “defecate in his mouth and slap his mama”, all referring to him as a “half-nigger” on a voice mail. After one too many acts of bullying (in which his lunch table teammates got up and left Martin alone, effectively ostracizing him), Martin left the team facility mid-meal, checked into a mental facility, and pretty much walked out on the Miami Dolphins.

Now, if you’ve read the premise of this episode, then you’ll think I’m siding with Incognito on this issue. My response to that is, “HELL NO!” I don’t condone racism ever, and I’m more disgusted at the locker room, which seemed to side with Incognito once the evidence came out of said actions.  Incognito may have been carrying out the request of higher-ups on the team to add some toughness to Martin, but he went about it in an extremely wrong and racist way. Incognito’s actions have no place in the NFL, and I suspect we’ve seen the last of him in a football uniform, to which I say, “Good riddance.”

HOWEVER, this is my Devil’s Advocate point on this subject:

I have an issue with a grown man, rookie or not, allowing himself to be subjected to extreme level of bullying and abuse. My biggest issue is that Mr. Martin didn’t once stand up to Incognito, and instead ran home when someone took his milk money. (which, in all fairness, is what happened).

Look, I’m going to be in the minority on this one, I know, but most of us grow up being taught to always stand up for yourself in the face of bullies and unfair treatment.  In the culture of professional football especially, testosterone (and intelligence) normally determines who survives and who falters. The Miami coach (who most likely will be fired once they find out who it was, not too mention head coach Joe Philbin may lose his job as well) who sicced Incognito on to Martin had to have seen something soft in Martin, and determined that he had to get a little tougher to survive in that world. Now, while Incognito’s actions certainly went overboard, they DID prove a point: that Martin may not be mentally tough enough to make it in pro football.

As I know some of you are wondering, “well, what should Martin have done in that situation? Fight him?”

My answer: if that’s what it would take to stop the “hazing”, YES. If he were disrespected to that extent, then the only way to gain any respect from his teammates would’ve been to have it out with Incognito in private. Martin wouldn’t have been kicked off the team; fights during training camp happen all the time, and the majority of players don’t really get disciplined to a serious extent. Even though most people will say Martin “did the right thing” by walking away from the situation is now that locker – nor any other in the NFL – will trust OR respect him to keep team business within team business. Unfortunately, in a culture like pro football, light hazing is just as natural as any other part of training camp. Yes, Mr. Incognito took this to an unwanted level, but Mr. Martin’s actions (or inactions, rather) pretty much demonized a whole sub-culture of football life that really doesn’t go THAT deep past pranks, buying a lunch or two, and carrying older players pads.

This is my biggest issue with young America these days. The quest to establish an “anti-bullying” culture has left the youth pretty weak, and with a mentality that they shouldn’t stand up to bullies, but rather let society console them. Now, I’m not saying fighting – and possibly shootings – should be rampant to stop bullies, but I AM saying that everyone has the right to defend themselves, and no one shouldn’t feel ashamed to do so, by any means deemed necessary to protect themselves. Everyone in this world should never have to fear being picked on by anyone else, whether in real life interaction or on the internet, but everyone should learn that the only way to stop bullying is to stand up to them, as most bullies are cowards and only target those they perceive are “weak” and won’t fight back.

I’ll just put it like this: when you have moms complaining of bullying because their son’s football team got beat 91-0, that’s when you know America is being coddled too far. At this rate, Charmin toilet paper will be deemed stronger than most of these kids’ mental stability. I’m all for stopping bullying, but there has to be a line, and the kit gloves have to come off, sooner or later. Otherwise, events these – grown men being bullied – will be much more rampant.



One Response to “Episode Fifty-One: The Charmin-Soft States of America”

  1. well said. but who draws the line. there are several sub cultures in our country that condone hazing/pledging/grooming of their members. it is based on old principles of developing comradere. yes incognito went overboard, but how many times has this happened before with incognito and other vets. there has to be organizational accountability for the actions of the people it employes. talent only gets you so far.

    fights on the field yes. nothing but sweat and testosterone. but not on my personal time. as soon as you invade my personal life and threaten my family, you have crossed the line. and in martin’s case it made sense to get outside help because the actions of incognito were supported by the leadership in the Dolphins org.

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