The NFL has a problem

"Breaking" a teammate is not a team-building exercise, and as long as NFL coaches keep excusing how players act in the locker room, incidents like the one in Miami aren't going to go away.

The NFL has an asshole problem.

There is absolutely nothing that came out in the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin report from Ted Wells that can be taken to mean anything else. Enough about this "locker room culture" crap. There is no such thing as "locker room culture." This is just a phrase used by people who are uncomfortable with good athletes being reasonably called out on deplorable behavior. What happened in the Miami Dolphins locker room can be described as nothing else but a group of man-children hiding behind a veneer of alpha male-ism in a society that excuses their stupid actions.

It's time we stop searching for reasons to defend the indefensible. You don't have to be an asshole. You're well within your rights to act like a decent human being. I understand that NFL players have been told that they're special for their entire lives, and this culture of making them a celebrity since high school has a way of inflating their ego. But there's a way to be famous and not be a world-class dick to your coworkers. Trust me, it's possible.

Not all NFL players are assholes. Most of them are perfectly nice, generous people around their family, friends and their communities. But when a coach lets the stupidest people speak the loudest, then you have an asshole problem.

Like anything else in life there's a spectrum of being an asshole, understanding that is where people start to lose their minds when it comes to defending this type of behavior. Most of the people that I know who are fun to be around bust each other's balls and joke around.

The problem is that you can slap the "busting balls" label on anything you want. It can mean that you're making fun of the time your buddy got arrested for petting a police horse, or it can mean that you're calling a teammate a "half-nigger piece of shit." Not being understanding, or not caring, about the fundamental difference between something that cuts to the core of who someone is as a human and something that doesn't makes you an "asshole" whether you're comfortable with this term or not.

It's an NFL problem because it was done with the blessing of the coaching staff. Given the NFL's policy on hiring dipshits who have been fired by three other teams, this is not an isolated incident. This was done systematically under the guise of "team-building."

I've never known any effective "team-building" exercise that involves keeping a spiral notebook outlining fines for "breaking" someone to the verge of psychosis. You don't get "broken" by your peers and come back fine the next day. You come back with a deep resentment of them and more importantly, of yourself, that you try to mask by attempting to be just as big of an asshole as they are.

Incognito got broken too at some point in his life, and he never came back "fine." He came back making sure that it was going to be someone else who gets broken next time.

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