Most of us at any level have played sports and been on a team. We also know that being on those teams, means that you’re trying to develop chemistry and “be one of the guys.”
This is seemingly what some could have looked at being the case in regards to Dolphins offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. Long story short, Incognito reportedly bullied Martin and the latter has since left the team. Since then, Incognito has been suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins. So this begs the question to our local football players. How do you make sure it doesn’t go on here? Falcons center Peter Konz says it’s up to a player to know what his actions could do to another player.
“You have to know when your heart is in the right place,” Konz said.
Konz continued on by pointing to his Christian faith as another reason why he wouldn’t want to hurt any of his teammate’s feelings with malicious words or actions towards them.
On the college level, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is a team leader and says that it’s up to guys like him to make sure situations like the one in the Dolphins locker room does not happen inside the Butts-Mehre Building in Athens.
“You’ve got to just hold everyone accountable for all their actions,” Murray said. “On the field, off the field, in the weight room, (and) in the film room you’ve just got to make sure everyone’s doing the right thing.”
Georgia senior nose tackle Garrison Smith agrees with Murray and says their locker room is nowhere close to being a hostile environment.
“It’s just all fun and games in our locker room,” Smith said. “That’s what it takes to win. We’ve got to be a family and got to be a team. So, we’re never trying to harm anybody.”
Back up on the pro level, the Falcons have been regarded as a team that has great team chemistry and a very comfortable locker room. Safety Thomas DeCoud is just choosing not to worry about a situation that he knows doesn’t effect this team.
“We’ve heard about it, it’s been on TV left and right,” DeCoud said. “We can’t really focus on that, we’ve got our own things to get right here. That’s something that’s going on in their locker room, we’ve got to get something right in this Atlanta Falcons locker room.”
DeCoud is of course talking about the Falcons current record of 2-6. To back him up, rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant says respect among players is not an issue with the team.
“The veterans respect us (rookies) and we respect them,” Trufant said. “We know there’s some things that we’ve got to do. That’s just part of being a rookie, but it’s always out of respect.”
Some of those things that Trufant is talking about is rookies having to dress up in costumes at certain times, take part in a talent show for the veterans during training camp, and other good natured things aimed at building team chemistry.
That said, as mentioned earlier in this story, we all know that some things that happen in a locker room are not necessarily tolerated in public. Some jokes, comments, or actions could be tolerated amongst some on a team and not necessarily by every teammate. However, most people think it would have been easy for Jonathan Martin to say something about the alleged treatment from Incognito. Anyone that has ever played on a team or been in a group of friends knows what comes next if you say something. You’re looked at as being a “snitch” or other hurtful words from the group. A person being bullied doesn’t want to rock the boat, because they don’t want it to get worse. Instead, you just hope one day that it goes away. After all, most players/people want to be accepted by the group and not be further alienated.