The Park Record Editorial, Nov. 9-12
As more and more details emerge in the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin saga, the picture is still murky as to what exactly was going on in the Miami Dolphins locker room. Sure, there was bullying, threatening text messages (including one with a racial slur) and copious amounts of cash changing hands but who knew what?
There are still several questions left unanswered did the coaching staff know? Did Martin talk to anyone about the bullying? Was Incognito instructed by coaches to "toughen Martin up?"
No matter what the facts end up being, it’s clear that unsavory things were happening in a professional locker room, things that many would consider juvenile and things many would consider dangerous.
Though the Dolphins made the right step in suspending Incognito indefinitely while an NFL investigation takes place, it’s obvious the locker room culture in Miami is not healthy.
Perhaps Miami head coach Joe Philbin should give Union High School head coach Matt Labrum a call.
now, we all know the Union story. A week after earning a hard-fought 37-36 over Park City, Labrum suspended his entire team after reports of teacher mistreatment and cyber bullying surfaced. Players had to prove their character in order to earn their jerseys back.
Coaches often have to make difficult decisions about disciplinary issues. This season, a couple Summit County coaches made tough calls by suspending valuable players for multiple games. How much effect those decisions had on wins and losses can be debated, but what can’t be debated is that the suspensions sent a message to the players.
Hopefully, next year, no Summit County coach will even have to consider a suspension. But, if they do, let’s hope there’s not so much pressure to win that civility is set aside in pursuit of victories.
"It’s not all about winning games," Labrum said in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune.
Unfortunately, in the multi-billion dollar industry that is the NFL, too often the message is that winning IS everything. Still, we can always hope there will be coaches like Labrum and our local coaches to help our young athletes develop into men and women who don’t tolerate bullying in any form in the locker room, in the classroom or in any other facet of life.
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