5 NFL Players Who Are Changing The Definition of Being A Man In Football

Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin is not the only NFL player to challenge the league's bigotry and misogyny. These five men stand for a new kind of masculinity.

Photo by Penn State / Flickr


Last fall, Jonathan Martin, a lineman for the Miami Dolphins, took a tray of food to join his teammates at a meal. When he approached, everyone at the table stood up and left him to sit alone. Martin threw his tray to the ground, left the Dolphins facilities, and checked himself into the hospital for mental duress.

The story that unfolded from there was a disturbing one, featuring bullying, hazing, racism, and abuse, all directed at Jonathan Martin, who is African-American. Eventually, it seems Martin couldn’t take it any longer, and left.

The man behind much of this abuse was Richie Incognito, another (white) lineman on the team. The evidence began piling up with the release of a voicemail he left Martin, filled with racial abuse, mockery, and threats of violence. We then learned that Martin had been made to pay $15,000 dollars toward a Las Vegas trip for his teammates that he did not attend. The story continues to unfold, and just gets worse.

Unfortunately, much of the response held Martin responsible. While Incognito’s behavior has been rejected by all, too many faulted Martin for his inability to “man up” and take it. Football is a man’s game, this line of thinking goes, and if you can’t take the pressure, you don’t belong.

“You're a grown-ass man,” Antrel Rolle of the New York Giants said. “You need to stand up for yourself." Read more

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