PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Miami Dolphins player faces serious allegations that hazing went too far.
And although hazing is common in the NFL, some former Steelers say what’s acceptable and what’s over the line.
Jonathan Martin was born in Pittsburgh, raised in California and was in his second year with the Miami Dolphins when he suddenly left the team.
“You gotta imagine it’s gotta be pretty hard and going on for a long time for a guy to be a cafeteria like we know and just throw down his tray and run out of there,” retired Pittsburgh Steeler Chris Hoke said, “there had to be some things that built up over time, not just that isolated moment.”
Martin has identified – and the Dolphins have suspended – Richie Incognito for the continued barrage on Martin that those who’ve played the game say is way over the top.
“Racial slurs threatening the guy’s family, emails, voicemails, texts, so my reaction is utter surprise,” said retired Steeler Edmund Nelson. “I never knew anyone in the NFL could be that vicious.”
“There’s no place for that in a workplace,” Hoke said.
The former Steelers say good natured hazing is part of being an NFL rookie.
“But dinner for a bunch of guys, get taped to a goal post, things like that,” Nelson said.
“It’s just having fun, rookies coming in, earn your keep, earn you’re earning your spot in the locker room,” Hoke said.
“This kind of thing is a little deeper, a little nastier than that,” Nelson said. “(And it’s between teammates), which is unbelievable.”
“You never want someone to feel like they are not part of the team,” Hoke said.
Former Steeler Charlie Batch also weighed in on the issue.
“This is one of the things that I go out and I address, and this is something that we have with the Best of the Batch Foundation, what we do is we have anti-bullying programs,” Batch said. “We go out to the high schools, we go out to the elementary schools and the middle schools and we talk about the dignity and respect program. Treating others the way you want to be treated.”
Martin has handed over to the Dolphins, the texts and voicemails from Incognito which involve threats to Martin and his family. The team turned the investigation over to the NFL.
“If this guy did what he is alleged to have done, yeah, he needs to lose his job over it,” Nelson said.