- Obama to Republicans: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time’
- U.S. chemical sites vulnerable despite millions spent on security: Congress
- Driverless cars to hit the British streets by 2015
- GOP presses to scrap IRS commissioner position — but put in panel
- New bill would make sure women in military can get free birth control
- Trafficking bust reveals worries over missing kids; minors as young as 11 found
- Catholic League slams Obama: ‘Do Christian lives mean so little to you?’
- National laboratory cancels ‘Southern Accent Reduction’ classes after outcry
- U.S. woman with Ebola is stable, improving, son says
- Belgium pushes for clear labeling of goods from Israeli settlements
Other NFL players cite lack of leaders in Miami
Question of the Day
ASHBURN, VA. (AP) - Eleven seasons into his football career, Washington Redskins linebacker Nick Barnett figures he has a pretty good sense of the sort of teasing and hazing and horsing around that happens in the typical NFL locker room, especially when it comes to rookies.
They’re stuck with $5,000 dinner tabs. They’re told to tote the helmets or pads of older players. They’re held down and given unwanted haircuts or get their eyebrows shaved.
What he’s never heard of, Barnett said Tuesday, is the kind of accusations of out-and-out bullying and harassment at the heart of why second-year offensive tackle Jonathan Martin suddenly left the Miami Dolphins a week ago because of emotional distress, and why his linemate, Richie Incognito, was suspended indefinitely by the team.
“You have different people, different personalities, different cultures in here, and it’s not going to be the same as in an accountant’s office or Wall Street. Same as our armed forces,” Barnett said, standing at his locker after Washington’s practice. “But every social setting has its standards, and when (you) cross those standards … especially with a guy who is 6-something-foot tall, 300 pounds … not coming to practice because he feels bullied or whatever the case is, now we have an issue.”
While some players said they figure the NFL to make clear certain kinds of locker-room behavior won’t be tolerated, Commissioner Roger Goodell has so far been silent on the matter; a spokesman said the league is “currently engaged in a thorough review of the situation.” The players’ union issued a statement Tuesday saying it expects the NFL and teams to “create a safe and professional workplace for all players.”
According to two people familiar with the case, Incognito sent Martin racist and threatening text messages. The 319-pound Incognito, a ninth-year pro, is white. The 312-pound Martin, in his second NFL season, is biracial. It’s unclear whether Dolphins coaches or management knew of any issues between the pair before Martin left the team.
The curtains do get pulled back on this sort of thing in the NFL every so often and, as with most bits of news connected to the country’s most popular sports league, they garner quite a bit of attention.
During training camp last year, New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara was tossed into a tub of ice water by defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul. Amukamara had missed most of training camp with an injury a year earlier as a rookie, so perhaps this was a chance to make up for lost time; a teammate let the world in on the episode with a tweet.
“What I went through wasn’t bullying at all. It was just more of fun in the locker room. Of course, nobody’s going to be happy being thrown into a cold tub of water, but … things can get out of hand sometimes,” Amukamara said this week.
Like several other players around the NFL, Amukamara latched onto two particular elements of the Miami situation that moved past normal fun `n’ games: “Anything that’s racial or threatening, I think that’s in the definition of bullying,” he said.
Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson recalled a first-round draft pick with another team who signed a deal for tens of millions of dollars and was told to pay a $30,000 restaurant bill for others at his position.
“It happens a lot. But certain things remain in this league for a reason, and certain things start to phase themselves out,” Burleson said. “I don’t know if this is one of them.”
Some veterans, such as Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, consider such happenings a rite of passage they hope won’t disappear entirely _ within reason.
“Some of the younger guys come in and there’s a sense of entitlement, and you lose that work ethic, you lose that true veteran-led locker room sometimes,” said Allen, who said he’s seen teammates fork over $50,000 or more. “You got to know who you’re dealing with. You can’t treat everyone the same. You can’t treat every rookie the same.
“Some guys are more sensitive than others.”
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Proving A Point: Redskins' Bacarri Rambo vows to make impact in second year
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- National laboratory cancels 'Southern Accent Reduction' classes after outcry
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world