With the news of the Miami Dolphin’s bullying/hazing incidents involving Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin coming to light, former NFL superstar Rich Gannon recalls similar situations that occurred when he was playing for the Oakland Raiders.
According to CBS Sports, Rich Gannon recalls a scene he encountered in the locker room during his first year with the Raiders.
“I have absolutely no tolerance for this type of behavior. I’ve seen firsthand how this can divide and really destroy a locker room, a team and quite frankly, an entire organization,” Gannon said. “I went to an organization in Oakland, which quite frankly made me sick. This culture and environment existed out there with older players bullying younger players. At one point, I remember coming into the locker room my very first year there, and I saw a group of defensive lineman had our young tight end tied up with tape. They were punching him. They were putting icy-hot and baby powder with water on this guy. They were trying to demoralize the player.”
Gannon believes his reaction to the incident changed the culture of the organization.
“I freaked out. I said, ‘I need this guy on Sunday,'” Gannon said. “I really thought that I helped to change the culture and the environment in that building.”
Three years later behind an MVP season by Gannon, the Raiders would go on to make the Super Bowl. He credits their success to not allowing those kind of elements into their locker room.
“If this exists in your locker room, you have no chance of being successful. Unfortunately, it still exists in certain locker rooms.”
We live in a time period where bullying of any sort is just not acceptable on any level. That includes grown men. I would not be surprised if more people get the courage to come forward and report these incidents in professional sports. I also think the people in charge, whether that be coaches, GMs, or owners, will do a much better job of making sure this does not happen anymore instead of sweeping it under the rug like so many of them do. As far as Incognito, with actual evidence proving that he bullied Martin coming to light, do not be surprised if he is in an unemployment line very soon.