miThe Miami Dolphins made the news with an improbable come-from-behind win against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday, Oct. 31 in overtime, 22-20, but made much bigger headlines starting offensive tackle Jonathan Martin abruptly left the team due to constant teasing and bullying by teammates this past week.
ESPN and FOXSports confirmed that Martin left the team because his teammates blatantly bullied him for being different. It has been reported that the piercing jokes ventured into Martin’s personal life and about his family. The “O-line made fun of him and he snapped,” said one teammate. Martin’s teammates reportedly dubbed him “Big Weirdo” and other biting names.
NBCsports.com’s Mike Floria wrote that merciless, often persistent badgering in NFL locker room makes it make it “hard to believe that the NFL locker room is ready to accept an openly gay teammate.”
Why Floria mentioned Martin’s sexual orientation is not clear at this point, but there is no official word that Martin has come out as gay.
According to FOX Sports’ Joe Glazer, the last straw occurred when Martin’s teammates pulled a typical trick in the lunchroom: when the last team member sits down for lunch the other players stand up to leave. Martin’s teammates reportedly pulled the trick on him, causing him to snap and smash his lunch tray before leaving the facility without notifying his team.
The team’s official explanation for Martin’s absence is he took time off to receive counseling and to spend time with his family.
But Martin seemed to dispute the team’s official statement. “Happy Halloween!” Martin wrote in a post on his Facebook page, “Don’t believe everything you read.”
The Dolphins refuse to get into the specifics of what is personally distressing Martin to the point where he felt he needed to seek counseling, leading to speculation that the relentless ribbing of Martin was due to his sexuality.
Martin was a two-time All-American at Stanford and had started every game of his one-and-a-half-year career before walking out. The 2012 second-round pick of the Dolphins is the son of two Harvard-educated lawyers.