Friday, November 8, 2013
martin vs incognito, round 2
Wow, need to do a little follow up here, not as the story surrounding this bizarre situation gets weirder (which I'm sure it will), but as some of the coverage gets weirder.
Spoiler alert: espnW, their women-centric coverage site, has an opinion piece on the events transpiring in Miami and how it relates to masculinity. Two writers, Jemele Hill, a well-known and confirmed bullshit peddler and Katie Fagan, unconfirmed as a bullshit peddler but guilty by association, discuss what makes a "real man" in sports.
In the article, NFL masculinity is rightfully excoriated for the mindset that having even the slightest ounce of vulnerability is weak. They go through a couple unfortunate incidents ranging from gay-slurs to sexual assault, all reprehensible. There is no question that professional sports has taken the idea of masculinity to another level, even pushing it to something no longer recognizable as masculinity.
The problem starts when they pontificate about a couple NFL players suggesting Martin should have taken a stand for himself, that he's not a kid anymore. They then make the reach that standing up for yourself automatically means engaging in physical combat with the aggressor.
Noooo, that's a bit of a stretch. With the popularity of (childhood) bullying in the news, the idea of a violent clash between a David and a Goliath is the image that immediately springs to the minds of most people. Not always the case, as here we have two 300 pound offensive lineman as the main parties involved. Two physical Goliaths, or more likely, two mental Davids.
Further, equating childhood bullying with adult "bullying", is wrong; there are many differences. While it could be argued that many NFLers have a limited worldview, the same can certainly be said for children; that a limited worldview could present the idea of standing up for oneself in a narrower scope of options (arguing or fighting).
To a rational adult, standing up for oneself could mean telling the dude to chill, it could mean just not giving him the satisfaction of getting a reaction, it could (and should) mean a lot of things that don't include physical violence.
Even on the radio the other day, some asshole at Yahoo!, Steve Z-something, was taking about how standing up for yourself is the worst thing ever, then proceeded to give that David and Goliath scenario. Sorry, dipshit, but I was bullied in school, and it was some turd about my size - OK, maybe fatter - and it wasn't a life or death beatdown sitch; it was constant shit-talking with a slight hint of middle school push-fighting.
Only I made the mistake of telling my parents, who told his parents, which made things worse.
Do I regret not trying to kick his ass? Yeah I guess. But that's the thing with kids - they're young and lack life experience. In my 8th grade mind, the only options were fighting, taking more bullying, or telling my parents. Oddly, when high school happened, the bully disappeared. I hope he's dead.
Kind of got off track there, but at the conclusion, they refer to Jonathan Martin as a real man because he "refused to perpetuate the toxic brand of masculinity". I guess, yeah, he kind of did that, but it appears he did it in a cowardly, inefficient fashion. As an adult, just walking away from your job, your problems, your whatever, that doesn't fix anything. In this case it drew more attention to a national pseudo-epidemic, but that's about it.
I'm 32 years old now, and yeah, when I was a dumbass high schoooler and college kid, I thought fighting and talking shit was cool. I thought it was cool having people intimidated by me because I lifted weights or because I was into boxing. (if anybody out there actually was intimidated by me, you're in a very lonely, group)
Newsflash, in the real world none of that shit is cool. It was a necessary part of growing up, but I grew out of it. Now, fighting, calling somebody a faggot, or not reasonably standing up for myself are all repulsive. (even though I totally do all that on the regular, high five, bro!)
Note here that while Martin could have acted in a more mature manner, Incognito is certainly no angel - he's a scumbag and acted completely unacceptably. Last, and this is something we glazed over in yesterday's editorial opinion front page piece: Jonathan Martin left the team to get mental help, however briefly he sought it. In his mind, he was suffering emotional distress and that can be a real thing. He should not be ridiculed for it.
BONUS! Here is a definitive guide to being a real man:
- do manly things
- be a man
- act manly
- talk about men with other men
- listen to other men talk about men doing manly things with other men, while in the company of men that are acting manly