Jonathan Martin Bullying: What Richie Incognito Means For Jason Collins and An Openly Gay NFL Player, OL Racist and Ignorant Comments Could Set Back Coming Out For Years

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Nov 05, 2013 02:13 PM EST
NBA basketball player Jason Collins
NBA basketball player Jason Collins speaks after being presented with the Courage Award, at the annual GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) Respect Awards gala in New York, May 20, 2013. "

The Miami Dolphins situation involving Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin is a nightmare of sorts for the NFL, because practices that have long been allowed to go on and tolerated are now being aired in public and while this story could be isolated to the league, it says a ton about team sports and professional sports in general and that is one reason why I think it will be a long time before an openly gay player is in the NFL.

There was a time last season when the tide seemed to be turning after Brendon Ayanbadejo said that some players might be coming out and while Incognito did not directly say any gay slurs (maybe) to Martin, just the idea of this bullying and the nature of the locker room will likely push back an openly gay NFL player for years. Jason Collins was heralded as a hero for coming out and now he can't even get a job.

In a way, the same thing is happening to Martin, as some players and unnamed execs called him soft and weak and made it out like it was HIS fault that he got bullied. He is described as "different" by some teammates, so he "deserves" this type of behavior? He is being looked at as the "other" like it's his fault all this is happening and it's the same with Collins. Now that Collins came out, it's his fault he's not on a team because GMs are afraid of a "media distraction" by a player that won't play many minutes. All of a sudden after being patted on the back from everyone, now Collins is a man with no country. Yeah, he's old and no his last legs, but don't tell me a young team or a contender couldn't use those minutes or his mentorship off the bench. They could and it's ludicrous.

Maybe it's a bit much to connect the two, but behavior like this can set back progress for years. It looked like the tide was turning for the NFL and people were saying the right things, but guess what Brendon Ayanbadejo, Jason Collins and fellow outspoken NFL player Chris Kluwe all have in common? They are all UNEMPLOYED without jobs a year after speaking out about homosexuality in pro sports.

Coincidence? Maybe. Each are veterans and Kluwe didn't have great stats last season while Ayanbadejo is mostly a special teams player, but either way, it doesn't look good for the NFL or the NBA. Either way, that idiot and bigot Incognito may have set back the NFL for years.

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