If you do a root cause analysis, it leads straight to the top. The coaches asking Richie Incognito to toughen Martin up. Coaches should coach, they should address issues directly with the players, not find someone else to do it, especially someone with past issues like Incognito.
Now this for me is such a tough pill to swallow because I don't think its wrong that Richie, as a veteran, would be asked to take on this role. However, as a coach you should get to know your guys well before playing this game because it can work. Most guys (saying that loosely) would acknowledge that they're being made into a little brother role & respond accordingly. I'm certain there are hundreds of examples where a player had to earn the respect he deserved on the team.
On a side note I actually like what Ireland's advice to Martin's agent was on a personal level, ya know between buddies, but as a General Manager . . . thats just bad business. So I agree this goes to the top. & I'll say further more, the coaches & FO are more unprofessional then people realize at this point because they asked Incognito do something for them & they are now letting him burn for it! I actually feel bad for Richie in that aspect because he thought he was doing the right thing
Or it could be a matter of winning a popularity contest. Incognito was a jokester, a clown, a locker room leader, a tough guy, an enforcer, the first guy to back you up on the field if the other team started trouble. In football, guys respect that and they tend to like that sort of personality. Martin was quieter, kept to himself more, Murtha described him as a little standoffish, in other words, not as much one of the guys as Incognito.
Additionally, Incognito is the better player, solid left guard with a Pro Bowl on his resume. Martin is an inconsistent player who has a ways to go to develop into a solid offensive lineman.
If the team wants to win, they may easily side with wanting the better player on the field.
Just because the teammates like Incognito more or would rather have the better player on the field (these are hypotheticals, although I think it is clear they do like Incognito more) doesn't mean Martin is in the wrong. Judgment shouldn't be passed on who won the popularity contest.
I don't care if it is a popularity contest. Martin is the loser however you draw it up. He walked. He didn't fight. & in this business the most popular players are
the fighters. You can be standoffish as much as you want, as long as you perform on Sundays you have no reason to doubt your pride. Especially when the jokester/clown comes knocking.
Who would want Martin now? Is there a player out there saying "Jonathan is a guy I would like to play with by my side" ? Heeeeck No! Cuz when the opponent gets tougher, does anyone think Martin will grit it out? Not a chance. Maybe he needs to be more like the majority if he really thinks he wants to play again.
Yes, or it may have ended up worse, with a physical altercation. Who knows...
I gotta say it would be kinda awesome to hear that Martin man-handled Incognito in this scenario. Ha Ha Wouldn't it?
But when you say physical altercation immediately everyone is thinking worst case, & you know why? Its because nobody would give Martin a chance in that fight, despite being of similar size hes just not as tough as Richie. & maybe thats an entirely different lawsuit but Martin would still be showing his true colors. Wouldn't he?
But you know what? I've lost fights before. & its not the worst thing in the world finding out that you're human but you can still get another chance to prove yourself tomorrow.