What Is a 'Code Red'?

Chris TrapassoAnalyst INovember 6, 2013

Nov 4, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin address the media during a press conference at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Code Red: A buzzword or phrase many have used in regard to the Richie Incognito story after a Miami Sun-Sentinel report surfaced on Tuesday that stated the Miami Dolphins coaches "encouraged" hazing to "toughen up" Jonathan Martin and other players. 

What does "Code Red" mean?

How does it pertain to the Dolphins' bullying saga, a scandal that's getting uglier as each day passes? 

First, here's a look at a few of the instances in which "Code Red" has been used in the media without context provided:

Forgot to tweet but said on @FFD yesterday a former Dolphins OL said coaches supported and encouraged hazing to toughen up Martin + others.

— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 6, 2013

"Did you order the code red?" RT @dkurtenbach: Dolphins coaches asked Ricky Incognito to "toughen up" Jonathan Martin http://t.co/E5Al1OgKdR

— Smart Football (@smartfootball) November 6, 2013

Omar Kelly's source also said the coaches asked Incognito to toughen Martin up. Essentially...they ordered the code red.

— Chris Kouffman (@ckparrot) November 6, 2013

Philbin doesn't seem like the type to order a code red. But Incognito sure seems like the guy who would love to carry it out.

— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) November 6, 2013

A philosophy degree isn't needed to at least get a general idea of what a "Code Red" is after reading those tweets. 

However, in all likelihood, the term has been used frequently during this developing Incognito story because it made its way into pop culture when it was featured in an incredibly famous scene from the 1992 Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson movie, A Few Good Men.

The premise of the movie surrounds a "Code Red" being carried out within the military and the subsequent consequences the accused parties face as a result of what they did to one of their own.

In reality, the term "Code Red" has a military origin, and, in fact, a United States sergeant was sentenced to military confinement in a "Code Red" case five years ago.

This, from Stripes.com, on the appeal Stephen Burley lost in 2008:

Maj. Gen. Frank Helmick, former commander of the Southern European Task Force (Airborne), decided to let stand a two-year sentence that Stephen Burley received for directing three other soldiers to assault another, underachieving soldier in what is known as a “code red” in January 2007.

Upon researching a specific definition for "Code Red," you'll eventually be directed to the term "extrajudicial punishment." 

As the phrases suggests, "extrajudicial punishment" is a punishment by an authority figure that's not deemed legal by courts or other authority figures.

Actually, "Code Red" is not totally foreign to the NFL. Rumors floated around about a possible "Code Red" in 2010 regarding Philadelphia Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson

This, from Pro Football Talk's story on the matter: 

A league source tells us that veteran players on the Eagles were put off by the perception that Jackson lacked the courage to get hit, and that they have contemplated taking matters into their own hands.

The specific quote from the source, who requested anonymity: “Vets were going to give 10 a code red if he didn’t quit being a candy ass.

Mike Florio later described "Code Red" with an NFL context: 

The phrase loosely means in this context that the veterans had planned to confront him about the situation, perhaps physically.

Nothing ultimately came of that report, as Jackson never complained that a "Code Red" was carried out by his Eagles' teammates. 

But it was the only documented and publicized case—at least in somewhat recent history—of a "Code Red" potentially occurring inside an NFL locker room. 

Until now.