By John Boyle
As the messy situation in Miami regarding hazing/bullying continues to develop in Miami, the discussion for some has shifted away from Richie Incognito’s behavior, and toward the victim in the situation, Jonathan Martin. Some have suggested that in the world of the NFL, Martin needed to “man up” and stand up for himself, not decide to leave the team when things got ugly.
For one Seahawk, that reaction has been particularly disappointing. Doug Baldwin, a teammate of Martin’s at Stanford, did not hesitate to stick up for Martin when the topic came up today.
“I’m extremely disappointed in the reaction that has been generated from this entire event,” Baldwin said. “I’m trying not to say too much about it, but I think a lot of people might look at Jonathan Martin and think that he’s soft because he stepped way from the game, saying, ‘why don’t you just fight him?’ Well let’s really look at it with common sense and being logical. What options did Jonathan Martin have? He could fight Richie Incognito, he could go and tell on the players, which we know in a football locker room doesn’t go over well, or he could remove himself from the situation and let the proper channels take care of it. I think he made the intelligent, smart choice without putting his or Richie Incognito’s physical abilities in danger.”
“I know Jonathan Martin as a person, I know his character, I know he’s a great guy, a great friend of mine. He’s never been in trouble. I can only speak about him. So for this situation to be as serious as it has become, it has to have been something serious that was going on.”
Asked what he was disappointed about, Baldwin said, “There are some reports coming out saying that Jonathan Martin is soft, or about the way he handled the situation, he couldn’t take the verbal abuse or whatever it may be. I don’t know the specifics of what happened, so I don’t want to speculate, but at the same time, we saw the voicemails, the text messages, and for anybody to say, ‘You’re soft because you can’t handle that,’ that’s just ridiculous to me and it’s disappointing that our society even has to question that. It’s pathetic to me, actually.”
Baldwin also said he has reached out to Martin this week: “I’ve talked to him. I just reached out to him, made sure he was all right. I let a couple days go by before I said anything, but then I just made sure he was all right, told him I was here for him if he needed anything.”