Arizona Cardinals and NFL Need To Breed Positive Culture


Sep 22, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) blocks Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (95) in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Miami won 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

This situation with the Miami Dolphins and Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito has really gotten out of hand.  Of course when we all heard last week the talk of possible bullying I know I share the same sentiment as many in that there had to be more to the story.  As the last three days have unfolded, clearly that sentiment has come true.  Now we wait for the next shoe to drop.

Incognito was suspended indefinitely after the NFL and the Dolphins got a hold of a racially motivated voice mail Incognito left for Martin.  It is wording I prefer not to repeat here and the three times I’ve read the transcript is three more times than I ever care to see it.  Now we wait to hear even more about the story and find out if others besides Incognito are involved.

I truly believe you would never see such a culture in an Arizona Cardinals locker room.  The Cards have the type of personnel and front office that would not allow anything like this to happen if they ever even got a hint of something taking place.  I can’t speak for everything happening or not happening inside the Dolphins locker room and I’m sure there are a lot of great guys in that locker room but how does something like this get this far in an NFL locker room?  Fact is there is a mentality of its a boys will be boys.  That doesn’t cut it in this day and age.

I heard about comments earlier today that Arizona Sports 620 and Cardinals radio analyst Ron Wolfley made about there is no bullying in the NFL.  Sure there is.  I think coming from his perspective though and from the time in which he played the game, I get why he believes that.  He doesn’t see it as bullying.  There is a culture in the NFL that is a whole lot different than what you think it may or may not be behind those locker room doors.   He spent time as a player in the 80’s and early 90’s.  It was different back then.  I even spent a couple of preseasons behind those locker room doors with the Cardinals.  Its amazing what they can get away with.  It is definitely not a place for kids and trust me I was a kid when I spent time in those locker rooms.

I like Wolfley and even though he doesn’t agree there is bullying in the NFL he has to be in agreement there is no place in the NFL or any workplace for that matter what Incognito did.  It creates a hostile work environment and even in a place like the NFL where every player is raised and taught to be tough souls the fact is it reprehensible what Incognito did.  For Martin to actually leave the team because of a player or players actions tells me there is a lot more to this story.

The Cards Darnell Dockett said he wasn’t surprised.  Coach Bruce Arians said he didn’t know enough to comment much but believes nothing like that is going on here in Arizona.  I believe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will come down on Incognito hard, a local product from Mountain Ridge High School.  Otherwise if he doesn’t, what message is he sending?  Hazing a rookie and making him sing during dinner during training camp is one thing.  I’ve been front and center for that action and that’s all in good fun.  Sending threatening text and voice mail messages is a completely different thing and should never be tolerated.  I truly believe if there are other locker rooms like this, it is stopping immediately and will indeed breed a new positive culture in the NFL and its locker rooms.