It seems as though everyone has an opinion on the bullying situation between Miami Dolphins offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. Former NFL tight end Cam Cleeland, who played alongside Incognito for two years with the St. Louis Rams, is no different, and his opinion of the maligned guard is far from favorable.
According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, Cleeland has no sympathy for the situation that Incognito currently finds himself in. Cleeland even went so far as to call Incognito a "scumbag."
"I'm not afraid to say that (Incognito) was an immature, unrealistic scumbag," Cleeland said. "When it came down to it, he had no personality, he was a locker-room cancer, and he just wanted to fight everybody all the time. It was bizarre beyond belief."
Incognito has been the talk of the NFL over the past week. The Dolphins suspended him after it was revealed that he was the ring leader behind the bullying of Martin, according to James Walker of ESPN. Martin left the team prior to Miami's Week 9 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and he has yet to return.
Despite the poor public perception of Incognito, his teammates have largely been supportive of him. According to Gary Mihoces of USA Today, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, offensive lineman Tyson Clabo and others have come to Incognito's defense.
Cleeland may not be in the Dolphins' locker room, but he believes that the bullying that Martin allegedly went through is unacceptable.
"Any NFL player that gives Martin a hard time — I don't know him — but any guy who says, 'This guy should have been a tough guy, should have stood up to him,' it's BS," he said.
"I don't care if you're a good guy or not, you don't deserve that kind of treatment in any workplace. You've got to be tough. We're all tough guys. But in the end, you're still a human being."
One of the big debates regarding Martin's situation focuses on whether or not he is partially to blame. One school of thought suggests that he should have been "man enough" to put a stop to it, but Cleeland believes that the NFL's "tough guy" mentality makes it difficult to curtail abusive behavior.
"What happens if you go to your coach and say, 'This guy's bothering me.' He's going to look at you and go, 'Are you crazy? You wuss. You're not tough. Get out of my office.' I'm not saying that's what would happen with [Dolphins Coach Joe] Philbin, because I don't know, but that's what's going to happen with 95% of coaches."
Cleeland, who played seven NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and Rams, is particularly sensitive when it comes to bullying and hazing. A hazing situation when he was a rookie with the Saints nearly cost him his career.
According to Farmer, Cleeland was hit in the eye with a coin-filled sock, which significantly damaged his vision. While there is no indication that the abuse against Martin has been physical in nature, Cleeland believes that there is no room for abuse of any kind among teammates in the NFL.
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