Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin left the team two months into the 2013 season amid allegations that he was bullied. Guard Richie Incognito was subsequently suspended by the Dolphins for conduct detrimental to the team. And with the offseason upon us, neither player is expected back in Miami in 2014.
But here's something they both can agree on: Their mutual support of former Missouri linebacker Michael Sam, who announced Sunday that he was gay ahead of the combine, which takes place later this month.
Hats off to you Michael Sam, that takes some guts #respect— Jonathan A. Martin (@J_Martin71) February 10, 2014
Bullying awareness has become an issue in recent months, thanks largely to the Martin-Incognito situation. Sam's announcement will continue that conversation.
On Monday, Steelers safety Ryan Clark wondered what Sam's future teammates can and can't say to him.
"What are the things you can do and say around him that won't make him uncomfortable?" Clark asked. "That won't make him feel that he's being ostracized? Or that won't make him feel like he's being harassed or quote, unquote bullied?”
These are important questions but if Martin and Incognito, players allegedly on both sides of the bullying scandal in Miami, support Sam publicly, perhaps NFL locker rooms are more progressive than we originally though.
(Of course, skeptics might point out that Martin's and Incognito's tweets are a PR-driven means to make them seem tolerant. Maybe. We're still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.)