Thank you, Jonathan Martin

Posted on February 15, 2014

0


It took a lot of courage to walk away and to speak out.

I’ve seen far too many young black men change who they are in order to fit in with guys who have an aggressive, overbearing personality, or basically, who truly believed they were “runnin’ thangs”

At your heart, you are a GOOD PERSON. Never forget that. Even though you slipped during this ordeal (believe me, what you went through was an ordeal that will probably leave you with residual post traumatic stress) at least you agonized over who you were becoming and whether you even wanted to go down the same hellish road Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry created and maintained.

And it’s a damn shame that being a quiet man has somehow become a liability.

Even more amazing though, that hateful monikers intent on demoting men with allegations of them being more like women have taken root and don’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

There have been a number of quiet athletes who’ve made good in their sport. Tim Duncan in basketball, Hank Aaron and Derek Jeter in baseball come to mind. Davis Love III in Golf. And now Jonathan Martin in football, among other quiet, introverted personality types. Not everyone likes or wants to be the life of the party. There’s even been criticism of President Obama for seeming aloof or too coolly composed at times.

But see, as much as I enjoy Kevin Hart’s comedy, there no way I could sit through a movie with everyone behaving like Kevin. And yet, what the Jonathan Martin ordeal does confirm is what many people already knew. First, can black people be racist?

Hell yes. Just read the report in the link I’ve provided below for examples.

Second, had Jonathan Martin behaved in any shape or form like some people suggest, that is for him to punch out the perpetrators, then its possible the default benefit of the doubt would’ve shifted squarely in Incognito’s favor.

Trayvon Martin was branded a “thug” and George Zimmerman was acquitted of the teen’s cold blooded murder, even though many of George’s recent actions cast troubling questions on just how scared or non-confrontational he acted on that fateful night of Martin’s murder. I’m speaking of Zimmerman’s recent arrests with his domestic partners, and the fight that was cancelled, where he would’ve gotten into the ring with rapper DMX. Also, Zimmerman tried to sell a piece of “artwork” that was simply a copyrighted photo made by someone else.

Had Jonathan Martin violently fought back, he would’ve been branded a “thug” for his actions, and those who instigated it all would’ve kept it up, with a new target.  There were a number of teammates who sided and still side with Incognito, including those who acted in concert with him to conceal the in-house ridicule. Even one of their targets issued a statement that basically said their ribbing about his sexually didn’t bother him (the player has since been identified and appears to want to distance himself from this whole thing). All one can do is take him at his word.

Still, I can’t help but feel for Richie Incognito at this moment.

Incognito appears to be able to dish it out but not take it in return. It’s been reported that he’s deleted his twitter account after the official report came out, this after posting a tweet on Valentine’s day that stated “stop the hate”:

 

After Richie Incognito gets taste of his own medicine, can it be a cure?

by Greg Doyle of CBS Sports

“It’s no fun being the victim — right, Richie Incognito?

Poor guy. After the NFL announced Friday the findings of an independent report that determined Incognito had pushed Jonathan Martin to the point of leaving the Dolphins and even contemplating suicide, Incognito was under attack on Twitter. Mean people said mean things to him, picking on him when he was down, mocking him and taunting him and in effect treating him like the Wells report said he treated Jonathan Martin when they were teammates on the Dolphins.

And Incognito didn’t like it.

Link: http://www.cbssports.com/general/writer/gregg-doyel/24444505/after-richie-incognito-gets-taste-of-his-own-medicine-can-it-be-a-cure

 

 

No, it won’t do to subject him to what he instigated and inflicted many times on others. But he was not the only one. He had help.

 

Jonathan Martin being interviewed by Tony Dungy of NBC

Jonathan Martin being interviewed by Tony Dungy of NBC

 

 

For anyone who hasn’t read the full report, I urge you to read it. Those who still want to defend the gang of three who basically ran things on Miami’s offensive line conveniently forget there were more people subjected to unrelenting racist, homophobic and sexist comments. It’s also important to note that the excuses given by the main perpetrators read uncomfortably like they just don’t get it, or they will continue to deny, deny, deny, even when faced with the evidence of their misdeeds.

 

 

Incognito tweet, shortly before report was released.

Incognito tweet, shortly before report was released.

 

 

Here’s the pdf link to the report, created by the law firm of Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP:

http://63bba9dfdf9675bf3f10-68be460ce43dd2a60dd64ca5eca4ae1d.r37.cf1.rackcdn.com/PaulWeissReport.pdf

 

 

After that, please take a look at the best opinion piece on the locker room culture that Martin landed in. It’s by Jason Whitlock of ESPN:

Martin walked into twisted world

He confronted an unrelenting, prison yard mentality in the Miami locker room

by Jason Whitlock of ESPN

“Mass incarceration has turned segments of Black America so upside down that a tatted-up, N-word-tossing white goon is more respected and accepted than a soft-spoken, highly intelligent black Stanford graduate.

According to a story in the Miami Herald, black Dolphins players granted Richie Incognito “honorary” status as a black man while feeling little connection to Jonathan Martin.”

Link: http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9941696/jonathan-martin-walked-twisted-world-led-incognito

 

 

I’ll be back to put this whole thing in a historical context, in particular, how it touches on race and intra-racism (two of the alleged perpetrators of harassment are black, or more specifically, Mike Pouncey is bi-racial. However, contrary to some early reports, Jonathan Martin is not bi-racial. Neither his mom or his father is white). I’m not sure if Pouncey or Jerry realize that their actions were routine during segregation, where pitting African American males against one another because someone was “uppity” (articulate, seemed to have their head in a book most of the time, and for some asinine reasoning that appeared to be against the “norm” for black people) and also the still used phrase of “not black enough” as if there’s some sort of test to measure blackness.

For more on this issue, please see this post:

https://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/bestowing-honorary-blackness-has-its-roots-in-segregation/

 

 

If you’ve taken the time to read the PDF report I’ve posted, then you will have some idea of what has transpired in this truly sad case.

 

On Wednesday, February 12th, Richie Incognito inexplicably released a series of tweets aimed at Jonathan Martin:

 

Click image for larger view

Series of tweets by Richie Incognito compiled by USAToday

Series of tweets by Richie Incognito compiled by USAToday

 

 

Link: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/02/richie-incognito-lashes-out-at-jonathan-martin-on-twitter/

Whether Incognito had gotten word that the report contained damaging information is not known. But after weeks of silence, for some reason Incognito decided to lash out at Jonathan Martin and those he believed sided with Martin.

 

The Myth of the “real black man”

 

“The liberal mainstream media, notice how they have tried to destroy Sarah Palin. Notice how the more popular Michele Bachmann gets, the more they try to destroy her. You want to know why they go after those two ladies more viciously? Because they know that Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin is going to draw a lot of the women vote away from the Democrat Party. They are scared to death of that, if they were to run and get the nomination. They are doubly scared that a real black man might run against Barack Obama.”

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7354AsuLng

 

 

In this case Herman Cain tried using Obama’s bi-racial background to claim that Obama somehow wasn’t “black” enough, but Cain was, simply by his African American ancestry. Cain failed with this questionable line of attack.

There are two issues I’d like to explore in this post. One is to briefly go over the “real man” myth, and to investigate the “real black man” myth, because while there are similarities, there are also glaring differences.  

The “real man” myth includes rules like men don’t cry, real men take care of and protect their families. In this context, manliness depends on strength in deeds, being seriously alpha and courageous, with a heterosexual requirement.

Looking at the opinion on whether one is a real black man or not, it seems things are less straightforward. Former ESPN Sports Commentator Rob Parker made the mistake of imposing the real black man myth on Quarterback Robert Griffin III:

 

 

Rob Parker brings up the real black man myth

Here’s former ESPN sports analyst Rob Parker trying to explain what a “real black man” is, in reference to Washington Quarterback RGIII

 

 

 

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIc7PAadkwo

 

 

So, the videos with Herman Cain and Rob Parker show two different views on what constitutes a “real black man”. One seems to be proof a black ancestry, the other is the need to act and look “black” which neither man seemed to understand at the time, that their views were highly stereotypical.

 

 

When the Martin/Incognito story first broke last year, the media focused on Richie Incognito’s voice mail, where Incognito said this to Martin:

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that in April of 2013, Incognito left a voicemail for Martin saying, “Hey, wassup, you half n—– piece of [expletive] . . . I saw you on Twitter, you been training ten weeks. [I want to] [expletive] in your [expletive] mouth. [I’m going to] slap your [expletive] mouth. [I’m going to] slap your real mother across the face (laughter). [Expletive] you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”

Link: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/11/04/reports-incognito-left-racial-slur-death-threat-on-martins-voicemail/

 

 

First, let me start by addressing why Jonathan Martin’s parents probably wouldn’t list themselves as white on any form asking for their race:

Clarence Martin, Jonathan Martins dad

Clarence Martin, Jonathan Martins dad

 

 

Link: http://www.thecoli.com/threads/how-is-jonathan-martin-biracial-again.162449/

Jonathan Martins mother,  Jane Howard Martin

Jonathan Martins mother, Jane Howard Martin

 

Link: http://sportscourtmedia.com/2013/11/jonathan-martins-family-changes-dynamic-miami-dolphins-incognito-case/

 

 

 

However, in Incognito’s taunt of Martin, he uses the slur of “you half nigga piece of shit.”

It’s important for readers to understand that Incognito’s greeting isn’t really friendly, and it’s not being used as a term of endearment. He’s trying to put Martin in his place.

Unfortunately for Incognito there are also a couple of text messages in the report that show him joking about shooting black people. I doubt if this revelation makes Mike Pouncey or John Jerry feel like special snowflakes anymore.

 

Here’s the excerpt from the report

On December 13, 2012, Incognito and a former Dolphins offensive lineman, who is white, communicated about purchasing guns, apparently for recreational purposes. (We identify this former Dolphin as Player B.) The discussion veered into jokes about shooting black people:

Player B: Especially if u plan living in Arizona in the future, that’s exactly what you want

Incognito: Yea. For picking off zombies

Player B: Lol isn’t that why we own any weapons!?

Incognito: That and black people

Player B: Mmm def all black ppl

 

Four days later, Incognito and Player B discussed rifle scopes in text messages.

Player B: Yes. That’s a solid optic made specifically for a .308 battle rifle

Incognito: Perfect for shooting black people

Player B: Lol exactly

Player B: Or Jeff Ireland

Link: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24444472/richie-incognito-jokes-about-shooting-black-people-in-wells-report

 

 

This sheds a bit of light on why Jonathan Martin’s race became the club that a racially diverse group of bullies use to bash him with. However, more info on Mike Pouncey and John Jerry needs to come out. Because they reportedly joined in with Incognito’s slurs, possibly even encouraging some of them.

And how is it that some sort of pseudo-gang/street mentality was allowed to take root on an NFL team? Note this stereotypical exchange between Mike Pouncey and Richie Incognito, where two grown men discuss getting “snitched” on:

Incognito:  F–k Jmart That f—t is never back

Pouncey:  Bro I said the same thing I can’t even look at him the same he’s a pussy

Incognito:  My agent just said if we held mandatory strip club meetings Jmart is f–king ratting on everyone

Pouncey:  Lol wow are you serious he is a f–k boy

Pouncey:  He’s not welcome back bro I can’t be around that f–king guy

Incognito:  F–k that guy if Ur not with [u]s Ur against us

Pouncey:  No question bro he’s a coward for snitching

Incognito:  Snitches get stiches Blood in blood out F–king guy

Pouncey:  He’s dead to me

Link: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/14/incognito-pouncey-suggested-retaliation-in-about-martin/

(This exchange is also in the report presented to the Miami Dolphins by the law firm)

 

 

It pains me to see “if Ur not with us Ur against us” and “Snitches get stiches” coming from guys who make millions each year. The whole exchange is ridiculous.

Incognito’s days in the NFL are history, imo. Miami may have to clean house and get rid of the other two, because this brotherly “bully” bond they’ve formed is not only unhealthy, but they appear to embolden one another’s questionable thinking and actions. Mike Pouncey is 24, while John Jerry is 27.  Yet can anyone say with a certainty that Pouncey or Jerry can be trusted to adhere to any signed agreement monitoring their behavior?

Keep in mind that both these guys either defended or downplayed Incognito’s actions (in light of the report, now its clearer why. Because he could have “snitched” on their own complicity in all this). And Miami already had a policy in place regarding employee behavior.

What I see coming somewhere down the line is Pouncey and Jerry suddenly seeing the light and giving an apology. Whether it will be heartfelt is something no one will honestly know. However, if they have to do it to continue playing in the NFL, they will. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they now threw Incognito further under the bus by claiming they only went along because they were. . . wait for it . . . scared.  One or both might claim that they too felt like Jonathan Martin, but couldn’t back out because Incognito was so controlling.

For all I know, these might be young men who have religious convictions when they’re not singling out others to taunt. But even Jesus wouldn’t be safe around guys who elect themselves enforcers of bogus rules on who should be considered a “real man” or a real black man.

 

Intra-racism with the Black Brute Stereotype

Intra-racism with the Black Brute Stereotype

 

 

Hires ad, "Yassuh . . ." Black males were also required to grovel and give service with a smile

Hires ad, “Yassuh . . .” Black males were also required to grovel and give service with a smile during segregation.

 

 

Having black people talk ill of one another, and singling out black men for ridicule isn’t new. Even in the novel The Help, Kathryn Stockett has Aibileen, a maid who’s written as the most compassionate character in the novel, stereotypically speak of her ex husband Clyde. In fact, for all three maids of the book the black males they’re paired with are wanting.

 

Here’s what Stockett has Minny saying about “plenty of black men”:

 

Plenty of black men leave their families behind like trash in a dump, but that’s just not something the colored woman do. We’ve got the kids to think about.

– Minny, page 311 of the novel – hard cover version

This type of sociological smearing which has no basis in fact is woven throughout the book, yet some readers missed it. Segregationist ideology on the habits of black people, which are passed off as either amusing anecdotes or scenes with stupid as hell dialogue pulled me right out of the novel.

Note this exchange by Aibileen and Minny, where once again a black man is maligned, this time for being a gigolo and perhaps giving a venereal disease to his mistress (but somehow Aibileen was spared). For whatever reason, no editor caught this, and no one thought to check whether this was one of the reasons bigoted whites blocked integration, as they feared black children having venereal disease. Minny is the first speaker and Aibileen answers in this excerpt:

“You know Cocoa, the one Clyde ran off with ?”

“Phhh. I never forget her.”

“Week after Clyde left you, I heard that Cocoa wake up to her cootchie spoilt like a rotten oyster. Didn’t get better for three months. Bertina, she good friends with Cocoa. She know your prayer works.”

My mouth drop open. Why she never tell me this before? “You saying people think I got the black magic?”

“I knew it worry you if I told you. They just think you got a better connection than most. We all on a party line to God, but you, you setting right in his ear.”

– Minny and Aibileen speaking on page 24

With so many insults packed into this short excerpt, I need to list them all:

1) Aibileen’s husband, like most of the black men paired with the main characters is a scoundrel. He’s a womanizer, while Minny’s husband Leroy is the brutish, violent one. Constantine’s lover never married her, and he just up and leaves once their child is born. Stockett gives Aibileen this clunker of a link to say about Connor, Constantine’s ex: “He was dark as me” as if being of a darker complexion is something she should be ashamed of. This pattern of Aibileen whining about her skin color comes up a other scenes of the book.

2)  Clyde runs off with Cocoa, and a mere week later Cocoa has come down with a venereal disease. But that’s not all folks. Cocoa is apparently too dumb to seek medical attention, and Stockett somehow wants the reader to believe that not only didn’t Aibileen catch anything, but the folks in her church think she has the power to call down a venereal disease on the other woman (Cocoa).

3) Aibileen asks “You saying people think I got the black magic?” During segregation, no matter what religion a black person professed to be, jokes were made about blacks reverting to the pagan believes of the motherland, Africa. One of those “beliefs” had to do with black magic (think of that witch doctor photo of Obama). It’s a slur still used to this day, yet it gets inserted into The Help as if it’s so cute that Minny and Aibileen are speaking this stupidly.

 

Scan from a 1963 Jackson, Mississippi newspaper:

Women of Mississippi spread demeaning myths, scan from Clarion-Ledger 1963

Women of Mississippi spread demeaning myths, scan from Clarion-Ledger 1963

 

 

Wednesdays in Mississippi was a multi-racial group which tried to combat the untruths and derogatory myths spread about African Americans during the 1960s. Please read the info highlighted by the red box:

 

wims-wednesdays-in-mississippi, residents talk about blacks having venereal diseases and that northern agitators are communists

wims-wednesdays-in-mississippi, residents talk about blacks having venereal diseases and that northern agitators are communists

 

 

The above scan is from the book Wednesdays in Mississippi, a non fiction book written by

http://www.history.uh.edu/cph/WIMS/

 

 

Support the film project chronicling Wednesdays in Mississippi: http://wimsfilmproject.com/

 

 

to be continued . . .

Posted in: Blog