Hazing News

USA Today: Miami incident brings out the victim haters

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Richie Incognito stands accused of bullying Jonathan Martin and, as you might expect, is almost universally condemned. But, as you might not expect, some NFL players criticize Martin, too.

The two Miami Dolphins offensive linemen made national headlines when Martin walked away from the team and Incognito was suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team after Martin’s representatives turned over a voice mail with racially charged threats.

Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton thinks Martin broke the code of the locker room by leaving it.

“Everybody in the NFL knows that when you’re a young guy and when you’re with the O-line you’ve got it the hardest,” Knighton says. “I mean, that’s been going on for a while. … I don’t know where they crossed the line at; maybe (Incognito) said something personal.

“I feel like, as players, when it is player-to-player, it can be handled as players. It can be addressed. I don’t think (Martin) should have gone outside the team and expressed how things are going in the locker room.”

That’s not only a player perspective. Duke professor of sports psychology and sports ethics Greg Dale thinks it is a male perspective.

“I was teaching my class at Duke to a group of undergrads, and we were talking about this very thing in class,” Dale says. “And the comments from several of the young men were, ‘Well, he really needed to man up. He’s a man, and you’ve got to handle that on your own. He shouldn’t have walked away.’ And that’s the core of the problem right there.”

Hank Nuwer, associate professor of journalism at Franklin College in Indiana, has written multiple books on hazing, including Wrongs of Passage. He says it is common in athletic hazing cases to blame the victim.

“Either he doesn’t measure up or he’s a sissy for reporting it,” Nuwer says. “Or he doesn’t understand that Incognito was just trying to toughen him up. It’s always put that way.”

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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