“Any time a guy feels disrespected and like he can’t go to work and feel comfortable, that’s when you can’t have that in the locker room. Because at the end of the day, he’s playing, he’s playing for you, so you’ve got to take care of each other.”

– Willie Colon, guard, New York Jets

“I want you to know as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, I’m in charge of the workplace atmosphere. If the review shows that this is not a safe atmosphere, I will take whatever measures necessary to make sure that it is.”

– Joe Philbin, head coach Miami Dolphins

Bullying case puts spotlight on league’s hazing traditions

Dedicated online wagering fans that want all the information they can get on team statistics to help them decide before they place a wager may be next be reading about locker room gossip, to help them stay fully informed. The recent investigation into allegations of bullying within the Miami Dolphins has revealed brutal hazing rituals that could ultimately backfire and hurt a team’s chances in an important game.

As offensive linemen for the Dolphins, Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito played alongside each other, but off the field, it is now apparent that Incognito went too far when he teased Martin. It started when Incognito began to call Martin the “Big Weirdo.” Martin, 6 foot 5 and 315 pounds, didn’t like that, and it got worse. Much worse, according to teammates.

Martin left the club, in the middle of the 2013 NFL football wagering season. Now, Incognito has been suspended as the team looks into the allegations, after Martin’s complaints brought the matter to the attention of the sports betting public. Incognito also has a reputation as a dirty player on the field, too. Serious Internet wagering enthusiasts will remember that Incognito was sited multiple times for personal fouls, and was fined $50,000 once for head-butting. He has also been verbally abusive with officials during games.

Former St. Louis Rams linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski played with Incognito. He told a YouWager news source he could see how Incognito might become vicious with his pranks. “If you live it day to day to day, you could reach a breaking point,” he said. Josh Brown, a kicker for the New York Giants also played with Incognito. He told YouWager’s source Incognito was “a person with a tortured soul.”

Hazing has long been a tradition in the NFL. As rookies, Martin and other teammates were subjected to strange haircuts. Things like this also happen on other teams. New players are often forced to pay for outrageous meals. In the 2010 NFL football wagering season, Dez Bryant, a receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, got stuck with tab for $54,896. Austin Howard, a defensive tackle for the New York Jets, defended the practice of hazing. He told YouWager’s source, “Everybody’s done it. It’s all in good fun. And then the next year, they’re going to do it to the guy who’s there the next year. It builds camaraderie. It’s never intended to be hurtful or disrespectful.”

Incognito has not apologized for his actions, and he has gone so far as to dare anyone in the press to write negative stories about him. But when he was accused of fighting in a bar not long ago, Incognito took a very different approach to addressing his violent nature when he faced reporters. Referring to his troubled past, he told YouWager’s source, “A large part of this has been growing up, making a conscious effort on my end to change some ways in my life and change some of my ways on the football field.”


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