Rand: Former Dolphin Murtha, of Hutchinson, weighs in on locker room culture

  • Updated: November 7, 2013 - 6:54 PM

Retired Miami Dolphins player Lydon Murtha has come out in defense of former teammate Richie Incognito, who is being accused of hazing and harassing another Dolphins lineman, Jonathan Martin, during the past year or so.

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Lydon Murtha, who played his high school football at Hutchinson High and went on to star at Nebraska before joining the Dolphins for a few seasons starting in 2009 (he’s now retired), has an interesting guest-writing piece in SI.com’s Monday morning quarterback about the culture of the locker room in Miami. That team is going through all sorts of turmoil involving linemen Jonathan Martin, who left the team alleging bullying and harassment, and Richie Incognito, who has been suspended by the team. Here are a few of Murtha’s thoughts, and a few of ours:

Murtha writes: “Richie has been more kind to Martin than any other player. … He was a leader on the team, and he would get in your face if you were unprepared or playing poorly. Other players said the same things Incognito said to Martin, so you’d need to suspend the whole team if you suspend Incognito.”

Our thought: Just because others said similar things doesn’t mean it was appropriate, and the fact that it was so widespread might say more about the culture on that team than what a person should be expected to endure.

Murtha writes: “I don’t believe Richie Incognito bullied Jonathan Martin. … We’d have dinners and the occasional night out, and everyone was invited. He was never told he can’t be a part of this. It was the exact opposite. But when he came out, he was very standoffish. That’s why the coaches told the leaders, bring him out of his shell. Figure him out a little bit.”

Our thought: Not bullied? How can anyone read a transcript of a voice mail Incognito reportedly left for Martin, using a racial slur and other threats, and not consider it bullying or worse?

Murtha writes: “Incognito was made a scapegoat for [what came] down on the Dolphins organization, which in turn said it knew nothing about any so-called hazing. That’s the most outlandish lie of this whole thing. The coaches know everything. The coaches know who’s getting picked on and in many cases call for that player to be singled out. Any type of denial on that side is ridiculous.”

Our thought: Not sure if Incognito is a scapegoat, but it’s interesting insight into the coaches.

Michael Rand

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