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JOHN STEIGERWALD: You can't fix stupid

on November 09, 2013 10:59 AM

Had enough of the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito story?

Every person with access to a keyboard has had something to say about the situation with the Miami Dolphins, but the best summation I’ve seen came from columnist Jason Whitlock: “Mass incarceration has turned Black America so upside down that a tatted-up, N-word-tossing white goon is more accepted than a soft-spoken, highly intelligent, black Stanford graduate.”

A lot of people outside of NFL locker rooms were surprised to see how many black players on the Dolphins stood up for Incognito even after N-word bombs were found on voice mails that he left for Martin.

We found out through players on the Dolphins that Incognito was accepted as an “honorary black man.”

After I read this quote from Whitlock’s piece, I started to wonder if Martin’s problem was that some of his teammates thought he was “acting white.”

He quotes an unidentified black player on the Dolphins: “Richie is honorary. I don’t expect you to understand because you’re not black. But being a black guy, being a brother is about more than just skin color. It’s about how you carry yourself. How you play. Where you come from. What you’ve experienced. A lot of things.”

Martin comes from two Harvard-educated parents — one white, one black — and he is a Stanford graduate.

Maybe this explains why Incognito felt he could get away with calling Martin a half-n_______ without hearing about it from his black teammates.

ESPN fired Rob Parker, a black reporter, for saying this about Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III last year: “ Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother? He’s not down for the cause. He’s not really one of us. He’s kind of black, but not the guy you really want to hang out with. We all know he has a white fiancee. He’s a Republican.”

Robert Lital, founder of Black Sports Online, wrote a column headlined, “The Jonathan Martin Situation Sheds Light on Being Black/Acting White Issue.”

He writes, “The black community routinely opens their arms to white people who they believe to be in their fraternity of ‘blackness’ (Justin Timberlake, Bill Clinton, Robin Thicke, Johnny Manziel are a few examples) and while slandering those who they don’t deem black enough (Tiger Woods, RG III, Chris Bosh, etc).”

As Whitlock points out in his piece, Martin’s teammates called him “The Big Weirdo.”

Weird because he sounded “white?”

Weird because he didn’t have any or enough tattoos?

My first reaction to this story was an inability to understand how a 6-foot-5, 320-pound man could allow himself to be bullied.

That was before I learned more about Martin and heard some of the moronic comments from his teammates and other NFL players. Now I’m beginning to believe it had nothing to do with physical threats and everything to do with a smart guy realizing that he could no longer tolerate being surrounded by so many stupid people.

• There seems to be some support building among the media and fans for, if/when the Steelers season is completely in the toilet, sitting Ben Roethlisberger for the last few games. He’s on pace to be sacked 62 times, which would be a career high, and there is legitimate concern for his health. That should be the case every game and every snap, but here’s something that shouldn’t be a concern: 2015.

Or 2016.

Mike Tomlin was asked at his Tuesday press conference if he had given any consideration to how much the beating Roethlisberger is taking and may continue to take this season will have on him when he’s in his mid-30s.

Tomlin, not surprisingly, dismissed the question.

Can you imagine Tomlin, in the middle of watching the tape of the Steelers most recent embarrassment, suddenly slapping his forehead and saying, “Boy, we really stink, but what really concerns me is, if Ben gets hurt, who’s going to play quarterback in 2016?”

The Steelers are paying Roethlisberger $100 million. He needs to play. The team needs to prevent the creation of a culture of losing that can come from writing off a game or season too soon.

And then there is the minor consideration of the fans, who, you know, pay for all of this. They deserve to see the team that they paid to see, and they deserve to see it try to win. They’re already stiffed twice a year with exhibition games they’re forced to pay for if they want season tickets.

• A few days ago, I saw a woman with her entire right leg covered in tattoos. I know it’s a sleeve when your arm is covered, so, is a covered leg known as “pants?” She had permanently disfigured her body with the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins logos. There was a time when someone who did that would be watched very closely by her family and maybe sent away for a long rest. Not to be critical.

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