The buzz around the National Football League today is an unsettling harassment situation in the Miami Dolphins' locker room. Jason La Confora of CBSSports.com writes on the uncomfortable details (below). Note that Richie Incognito has been suspended by the team for his alleged behavior and an investigation is ongoing. The incident came to light after Jonathan Martin left the team following what was described as an "emotional breakdown."
Among the texts that Jonathan Martin made available to his parents, and then, eventually the Dolphins and the NFL, include those in which Richie Incognito refers to Martin, who is biracial, as a "half-n*****," according to a source who was privy to the communication.
There are several instances of threats as well, the sources said, and overall disturbing exchanges, including one in which Incognito refers to defecating in Martin's mouth.
Incognito also made reference to tracking down members of Martin's family and harming them in the texts as well, according to a source.
In some instances, that kind of rhetoric might be shaken off or ignored, but, given the track record of incidents between Incognito and Martin, and how sustained it had become, Martin truly felt that Incognito might be capable of inflicting harm, and for his safety getting away from the team was in his best interests.
The NFL, apprised of the evidence, began upper-level meetings on the case this morning as it launches its investigation. People with access to some of the exchanges believe in time this situation could become a springboard for further policies and practices at the league-wide level in regards to hazing, verbal harassment and perhaps also stricter codes in terms of financial harassment and actions whereby rookies are required by veterans to pick up excessive tabs and bills as a rite of passage.
Workplace harassment is a topic that all employers need to be educated about. For your convenience, the Chamber offers the Indiana Guide to Preventing Workplace Harassment, authored by attorneys at Ogletree Deakins.