SIMMONS: Ban Miami’s man-child from NFL

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One of the players in the NFL’s ongoing outside-the-lines bullying controversy was nicknamed Moose.

With a not-so-threatening sounding nickname, an I-aim-to-please personality and a love of classical literature and musical instruments, it’s surprising that Jonathan Martin, formerly of Stanford University and currently of the Miami Dolphins, even chose such a violent, testosterone-driven profession.

He was also the butt of teammate Richie Incognito’s long-standing and unchecked abusive behavior.

For now, Incognito is suspended from play, Martin is on leave from the team and every aspect of the NFL — from the players union, to the Dolphins‘ officials to the league’s bigger wigs — is rightly looking into what happened.

This isn’t an isolated instance of bullying.

From the outside, the bullying, hazing and harassing that routinely goes on in NFL locker rooms and dining halls appears to be innocent enough — until you read and hear athletes and sports reporters on the subject.

No one has all the information, details or facts — nor will the NFL and the NFL Players Association after their respective investigations.

One thing, though, is certain: Martin was the yin to Incognito’s yang, a Pooh-like persona to Incognito’s grizzly bear.

Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

Two guys with similar physiques, dreams and skills can occupy the same job but hold opposite positions on the wheel of life.

Troublemakers need to be contained.

Indeed, it’s truly discouraging that Incognito hasn’t asked for help.

He’s tussled with the law, been ordered into anger management, argued with his coaches and more.

Yet, like a juvenile delinquent who has been to reform school on several occasions, he keeps making the same bad choices over and over again.

Incognito deserves our prayers and the NFL’s help.

That help includes a ban from playing in the NFL.

It’s a tough call, for sure, and the right one if the NFL wants to be true to its word regarding player safety.

Incognito has a health problem, and you know what? Whether that problem stems from something as pedestrian as never emotionally maturing, or concussion(s), or steroids/performance-enhancing drugs, or never learning the parameters of life and the game, or being encouraged by coaches or teammates to push the envelope, he needs help.

Incognito went outside the lines with Martin.

According to, Martin shared texts and voice mails from Incognito with the Dolphins and the league.

Incognito’s words are threatening, offensive and deliberately cutting and vicious — exactly like the types of moves he is expected to make on the field.

The Dolphins and other teams and NFL management and labor need to move swiftly and deliberately.

Their messages need to be acute: The NFL is on the lookout for Richie Incognitos and they cannot play in the NFL.

As for Incognito, he should get the help he needs and perhaps counsel others, man-child to man-child.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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