RENTON — There are precisely two people — for the time being, at least — who know the whole story behind what is going on in Miami with Dolphins teammates Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito.
Martin, a second-year tackle, is away from the team amidst allegations that he was being bullied by Incognito, who has been suspended indefinitely. And while none of us know exactly what is going on in Miami, Doug Baldwin knows plenty about Martin, a teammate of his at Stanford, and the Seattle Seahawks receiver is bothered by what he has been hearing.
While the initial reaction to this story was outrage over Incognito’s actions — among other things, he left Martin a voicemail that included threats and racial slurs — the tone has shifted somewhat. Some people are now wondering if Martin should have handled the situation on his own. Others have suggested that Martin, a Stanford grad and the son of Harvard-educated parents, is “soft” for leaving the team rather than facing the issue head on — or fist first.
Many Dolphins players even voiced their support for Incognito on Wednesday. Baldwin was clearly unhappy with the way his former teammate is being characterized.
“I’m extremely disappointed in the reaction that has been generated from this entire event,” said Baldwin, who has been in contact with Martin this week. “… 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 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.”
It would be naive to think that NFL teams are free of some types of rookie initiations or locker room banter that would be considered inappropriate in a typical work environment. But Baldwin says what is happening in Miami goes well beyond what he or any other Seahawks have been through.
“I’ve never come across any type of situation that was reminiscent of what has come out of this situation,” he said. “There is an initiation part when you get to the NFL, whether it be paying for a veteran’s lunch or whatever it may be every once in a while. That’s common in this work place. I don’t think that was the case in Miami, though.”
Dave Wyman, a nine-year NFL veteran who now co-hosts the Wyman, Mike and Moore show on 710 ESPN Seattle, said Chuck Knox never would have allowed things to get so out of hand when he was a Seahawk, nor could he fathom the current Seahawks having such issues under Pete Carroll. And while Wyman doesn’t condone what is reportedly going on in Miami, he did admit surprise at how the situation is playing out.
“I’d never heard of a situation like this not resolving itself in the locker room,” Wyman said. “You can call it immature or not, but a lot of times it was a fistfight, and it didn’t matter who it was. I don’t care how much he bench presses or how big he is, that’s what happens. I saw fights between running backs and offensive tackles, so that was surprising to me.”
When the topic came up earlier in the week with Carroll, he was clear in stating that his policy has long been that there is no place on his team for hazing. Then again, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said he was unaware of what was going on with Incognito and Martin, and seeing as the locker room is usually the domain of players and not their coaches, Carroll was sure to check in with his team, and with veteran leaders in particular, in light of the Dolphins situation.
“I have asked,” he said. “I just asked around to make sure that everything is okay, and we haven’t had any issues about that, because that can be the case. I think we’re in really good shape, and I said I’m going to go up there and talk to these guys today, I want my information to be right. I want to make sure, is there anything going on that I don’t know about? As far as I can tell from the people that I’ve talked to I think we’re in really good shape that way.
“It’s never been an issue and that didn’t happen in college either. I just don’t like it; I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”
As expected, center Max Unger and defensive end Red Bryant were held out practice because of concussions. Carroll said both are going through the league-mandated concussion protocol and that their status won’t be known until late in the week.
Rookie DT Jordan Hill was held out of practice with a biceps injury. Carroll did not address Hill during his press conference, which took place before practice, so no further information was available. Hill missed part of training camp and the start of the season with a biceps injury.
Both of Seattle’s injured tackles, Breno Giacomini and Russell Okung, were back on the practice field, though Carroll said again that it is unlikely that Giacomini will be ready for this week’s game. Okung, meanwhile, is not eligible to come off injured reserve until Seattle’s Nov. 17 game against Minnesota.
Carroll said Percy Harvin had a good workout Wednesday morning, though it is still unlikely the receiver will make his Seahawks debut this week. Asked if there was any concern about the Harvin making back at some point this season, Carroll said: “I think it’s just a matter of time. We feel confident that the surgery went very well. He’s working diligently to get it done, we just have to do it right because we want him to finish the season with us and not have this be an issue.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.