PJ and Champ Talk NFL and Bullying » VSB

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PJ and Champ Talk NFL and Bullying

For the whatever installment of this fireside chat between Champ and I, we decided to tackle (get it? Tackle?) the NFL and its latest PR problem…bullying. Allons-y.


i7HArKtO3nVsPanama Jackson: The latest news out of the NFL is that the state of Florida is having the worst year ever. Tampa Bay sucks ass. Jacksonville is such a sh*tty place to be an NFL team I hear that Des Moines is in the running for the new location for the team (I just made that up). Then comes the Miami Dolphins and a fellow who represents a sport where the manliest of men do battle weekly basically took a leave of absence because he was allegedly being bullied. By a man named Richie Incognito no less.

For those not in the know, 2nd year player Jonathon Martin’s feelings were hurt by Incognito’s rampant use of bad words and voicemails where he was referred to by the nword and other words that aren’t very nice. You know, it sounds like I’m making light of Martin’s feelings here. And to be fair, to qoute Quincy from Love and Basketball “Some things should never f*cking happen…” but they do. And a lot. Football players “bullying” one another is kind of part of the gig. Just like in any organization. There’s levels to this sh*t. Some of which involves being berated. And it’s not right, but its okay, we’re going to make it anyway.

I think bullying is wrong. I also think that you try to handle things in house. He really went to tell on him. Or something. Champ, break it down for me and tell me whats really hood with the situation here? How do you feel about the story that’s come out?

Champ: Florida is having the worst NFL year ever. It’s also having its best college football year in over a decade, and the NBA champs reside there. I guess this would be a paradox.

So, the fact that this Jonathan Martin story is a story is crazy. Not crazy in that it shouldn’t have been a story. But crazy in that it hasn’t been a story more often. Because, while football is, for lack of a better term, “unique” (more on that later), this type of stuff happens with competitive sports more often than we want to admit. Does it happen in every locker room? No. But is the Dolphins’ locker room the only place where stuff like this is happening? Hell no.

If you happen to see or go through it while you’re playing though, it doesn’t feel like a big deal. For all of its benefits, sports does have a way of making you normalize inconspicuously abnormal behavior.

For instance, I was called a “scared shitless cunt” by a coach once. At halftime of a game we were winning by 25. I was 12. I also helped stuff a kid into a ball rack, lock it, and pour 10 bags of ice on him. I was 17. He might have been 13. His offense? I was working a basketball camp, he was a kid at the camp, he was being a smart-aleck, and we (the rest of my teammates) thought this would be an appropriate punishment. I felt kinda bad when he started crying, but not bad enough to stop us from rolling him around in one of the locker rooms so the rest of the kids could laugh at him.

None of this—the scared shitless cunt, the kid in the ball rack—seemed like a big deal when it was happening.

Anyway, I’m bringing this all up because I do think there’s a ton of hypocrisy and self-righteous outrage going on right now in response to this bullying story. I totally get why people who aren’t football fans are appalled by some of this stuff. I’m a football fan and I’m appalled.

But—for people who are fans of the sport—what the fuck do you think is going to happen when you put a bunch of hyper-aggressive and hyper-athletic young men together and pay them millions of dollars to knock each others heads off for 16 straight weeks?

If anything, this story just provides another example of the cognitive dissonance you need to exhibit to be an NFL fan. I mean, do you really have a right to be outraged about the bullying and the brain injuries and the domestic violence and the suicides and the murder-suicides and everything else if you’re still happily supporting the product every Sunday?

PJ: I honestly never knew what the term cognitive dissonance was until I started hearing about it because of the NFL. But you’re right. These cats are super aggressive guys whose entire livelihood involves being de facto crash test dummies. I think that’s why I’m so amazed at a man being in his feelings in the locker room about something like this. I’ve definitely been called worse. And that happened at a summer camp where the camp counselor made a bunch of us eat ants. I’m pretty sure that’s child abuse today.

What I find the most interesting, and you’ve alluded to this, is how many sports commentators are making it seem like they truly think this is outrageous. These cats have been in locker rooms and likely participated in the activities and now want to be outraged? Or at least pretend to be outraged? I just don’t know if we can call anything bullying that happens in a sport that involves full contact at very high rates of speed…on purpose. Sure, your wife sleeping with your best man or quarterback is cause for being in your feelings. But another football player basically calling you a p*ssy daily seems a bit extra. Again, I’m not him. Maybe he’s just a gentle soul – akin to Ricky Williams – whose physical gifts and talents (pause) have landed him where he is, but this also can’t be the first time somebody dug in at him.

You bring up another good point. How do we watch the product given all these issues? Well, we realize nothing’s going to change. And there’s so much money involved it doesn’t seem real anyway. We feel like these guys are being paid insane amounts of money to do something we’d all give our right nuts to do while we’re all making peanuts just to get by. I knwo bullying is a big issue in America. Kids are being affected by it daily in ways that are causing real serious consequences. Football players being bullied seems like small potatoes when little kids are hanging themselves because of Facebook messages. Here’s a question, who does one come back from this? You can’t seriously walk back into any locker room as Jonathon Martin and think anybody is f*ckign with you, can you?

Champ: Yeah, Jonathan Martin may have committed career suicide. Which, again, is crazy. Because he didn’t do the wrong thing here. It’s ironic (and telling) that some people are calling him a coward for going this route, when what he’s doing actually took waaaaaaaaaay more courage than just punching someone in the face. This isn’t a kid tattling because someone took his milk. This is an educated man (a Stanford grad, if I’m not mistaken) who is likely fully aware of the ramifications of going outside of the locker room with this. He basically put himself against NFL culture. Is he going to “win?” Well, that depends on how you define winning.

(And for the people who swear that this wouldn’t have happened to them, that they would have “handled it like a man” or whatever the fuck else, I don’t believe you. You need more people.)

Also interesting is the fact that, despite Incognito being quoted as calling Jonathan Martin a nigger, some of the Black Dolphins players are supporting him. For the record, Mike Wallace (one of the quoted supporters) is a known idiot—so perhaps just the dumb Black players are supporting him—but this does speak to that whole issue about how certain types of Black people aren’t considered to be “authentically Black.” Basically, the Stanford-educated Martin isn’t Black enough for some of his Black teammates to side with him instead of the thug hick who called him a “half-nigger.”

What would you do if someone called you a half-nigger?

PJ: I’d go cry in the car. But I wouldn’t go tell either. And if I was genuinely offended (jury’s out on whether I would be), and I was the size of Jonathan Martin, I’d mollywop the sh*t out of Incognito or at least try. My guess is, my man Martin has some other issues. Which is why…he went to cry in the car.

Wouldn’t you go cry in the car??


Things go better with PJ and Champ…what are your thoughts on the NFL and its latest bullying problem? Happy Friday people. Happy Friday.
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Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Val

    Nope, sorry, not buying it Champ and PJ. The NFL is THE premier sports league in America and as such it’s not too much to expect that the players aren’t behaving like they’re on a NASCAR pit crew from the 1950s.

    It’s not in spite of the fact that they earn million that they shouldn’t behave like this but because they earn millions that they should practice some decorum. The NFL locker room is a workplace and as such there should be a certain baseline of expected behavior. When we non-NFLers go to work we don’t have to put up with being called racial racial epitaphs so why should Mr. Martin?

    And, the real story here, IMO, isn’t the bullying, it’s the super-coons on the team who are defending that Incognito person. I mean I understand supporting a teammate but where’s the pride? Have they sold it for a few pieces of gold? I want to punch those players in the neck.

    • Oshun

      *waving*!!! hEYyyyy!!

      • Val

        Hiya, AM!


        Did you have fun on your birthday?

        • Oshun

          I watched 12 nights of slavery or whatever that movie’s name was.

          • Val

            Lol @ 12 nights. If only.

    • +1 for the Super Coons and for all the former high school/college white players that I see in comment sections coming out and talking about how they joke like this all the time with their Black “friends.” Jim Brown weeps.

      • Val

        Yeah, when Black folks defend stuff like this it gives license to racists to downplay their racism.

    • 321mena123

      I agree with this entire statement. My question is, and PJ or Champ alluded to this, so because he doesn’t come off black enough, and the white guy seems more down, it’s ok for him to degrade the black guy and then get defended by the other black players on the team? I’m asking since I skimmed through an article regarding this but didn’t know this level of foolishness was happening.

      • Val

        I think it’s more to it that the White guy seeming more down. I think it has to do with backing a more veteran player as opposed to a rookie. And the simple fact that those guys defending him are idiots.

        • panamajackson

          to be fair, we dont know this is actually any real reasoning. it could be a hiding behind the shield thing.

          • Val


      • FWIW, I think that the White guy appears to come off as the more down brother. Hanging around sports and hearing what I’m hearing from the outside looking in, I would be shocked if that weren’t the deal.

    • panamajackson

      IF you had on football pads right now, Id run you over. lol

  • LadyIbaka

    “Half a nigga” has me weak! I swear Panama your posts give me life! The way you write with no pussy phakks to give (Shamira, what kind of phakks were you not giving in yesterday’s post?? I liked your phakks!!)

    On to the topic…..I scrolled through, could care less, let alone understand the mambo jambo you just wrote on football!

    I tried commenting severally through my phone to yesterday’s post, and it wouldn’t let me be great! Here below find my contribution.

    Also I wanted to comment on yesterday’s post:
    1.) WC! Lawwd hammercy! You read folks who think they are different when they are basic as phakk!

    2.) ED… Your “would you stop?” Comment was funny as phakk!

    3.) Episcolonius (sp?!) your avi is what’s up! So sunshiny and shid!

  • iamnotakata

    So there is no outrage on my part. And I am a HUGE NFL fan. I have to say I am indifferent about the whole situation…My first thought when I look at Martin and then what he will bring to the league ehhhh…No love lost. The Dolphins are trash anyway and the Broncos are still winning. But the Sportscenter trash talkers do need to have some seats, fake carrying about this “bullying” incident as if they were not participants on the giving and receiving end. Also sure it was the “right” thing to do, but will anything change probably not. As y’all stated it is an aggressive sport so the rough housing comes with the territory of the game. My advice is if you don’t like it get a 9-5. I don’t want to watch a bunch of ladylike in their feelings guys on the field k.

    • You think too little of men. You can still play an aggressive sport and not like the entirety of your being be defined by that aggression needed to play that sport. Arian Foster is both a supremely talented and thoughtful/multifaceted man that plays in the NFL. Brandon Marshall has progressed tremendously as a person once he finally got the help he needed for his personality disorder. We need to collectively stop lowering the bar. You can be a man of high character while still being able be classically masculine.

      • iamnotakata

        No doubt there are people suffering from mental illness in the league. I am not questioning the fact that some of them have issues that they need addressed or what not. What I am saying more so is that the reality of the situation is that NFL Football is an aggressive sport, and there are certain aspects of it that are grimy, not saying they are right or should occur. But it is the reality of the situation right now. We don’t know all the aspects of the whole situation between Incognito and Martin, only what has been released. And yes I know about Arian and his said lifedtly I lived in Houston, but I’m not questioning Martins ability to be masculine just saying things will likely not change…but hey good for him…And whether they do or not I still want to want good football….

        • They’re not mutually exclusive though. You can still want to watch good football and have a cultural shift. I actually think a cultural shift will actually better the product. Fun Fact: Everyone isn’t motivated by someone yelling at them. A cultural shift will help people recognize that all sorts of different personalities can and do play the sport and you can get more out of players as individuals and as a collective if you have both an understanding of the differences they have as individuals and actually able to use those differences in order to properly motivate and assess the talent of players.

      • Brandon Marshall is a trip for me. When I can pretty much do his press conferences before he shows up, it shows I’ve been around crazy for way too long.

        But dude…I get that men should express their emotions. But can they also still do it in a way that isn’t so mauldin? The masculinity you speak of seems as much of a straightjacket as the one that currently exists.

      • LMNOP

        “You can be a man of high character while still being able be classically masculine.”

        This needs to be heard and understood by more people.

        • I’ve seen so many people who have this “Martin shouldn’t have snitched” mentality. I feel bad for black men and the fact that masculinity is shoved down their throats at every turn. Men out here are really not eating lollipops, ice cream on a cone, and other foods on a stick for fear that they’ll be labeled. It’s so dumb.

          • afronica


          • John Shannon

            In ALL Honesty, Eff the “No Snitching” code and Eff the people Cosigning and Practicing it. You have a Loved One- Good or Bad-get Killed, Raped, etc I would THINK you would want to know Who Did It, not for Revenge (which I wouldn’t Knock at all) but for Justice and Punishment to come to him/her/them.
            I Weep for my Race because of “Stop Snitching”, and As Someone who Will Become a Federal Office a la U.S. Marshals or FBI, IDGAF about your Drug Activities or Whatnot-Kill Someone, Rape Someone, Become a Terrorist of ANY Religion or Ideology , etc and I WILL Get @ You. That’s a Promise and I would HOPE people would side with Me ( kinda like Martin) rather than Fear, Greed and Crime/Evil (a Incognito)………..

  • Tx10inch

    I initially sided with Martin, because Incognito is known around the league as a dirty dog prick bastard that everyone wants to knee in the eye socket, but after listening to their teammates talk….no one, I mean NO ONE is coming to Martin’s defense. Rumor’s are that he’s soft, gentle, and like’s long walks in the park.

    And then there’s the evidence…The voice mails are a yr old, from what I understand they all had a good chuckle about it and the QB of the team even says if you had asked Martin just two weeks ago who was his bestie, he would’ve said Incognito. TO ME, smells like undercover gay lover spat gone wrong and somebody got in their feelings bout it. Yeah, I said it……

  • Tx10inch

    Disquis dump. Repost:

    I initially sided with Martin, because Incognito is known around the league as a dirty dog
    pr*ck bastard that everyone wants to knee in the eye socket, but after
    listening to their teammates talk….no one, I mean NO ONE is coming to
    Martin’s defense. Rumor’s are that he’s a soft, gentle giant who like’s long
    walks in the park.

    And then there’s the evidence…The voice mails are a yr old, from
    what I understand they all had a good chuckle about it and the QB of the
    team even says if you had asked Martin just two weeks ago who was his
    bestie on tha team, he would’ve said Incognito. TO ME, smells like
    undercover gay lover spat gone wrong and somebody got in their feelings
    bout it. Yeah, I said it……

    • miss t-lee

      Oh dayum…

    • Disqus was trying to give you a hint that maybe you should keep the misogyny to yourself.

      • Tx10inch

        Whaat? Lil ole me? Expound pls.

        • I think the idea that a man can’t express emotions and should be beaten into “hardness” is oppressive to men. That oppression ends up hurting all of us. Men should not be abused for being human.

          • Tx10inch

            Buuut, i neversaid or implied that WC…. Abuse is abuse, which is wrong…so I’m lost here.

            • You implied that he is “soft” because he reacted to the abuse, or that he was abused because he is “soft”. I take that to mean that a man showing emotions is something that you don’t agree with and if other men punish him for doing that, so be it.

              • Tx10inch

                Well…you take that wrong. All for He-motions.

  • Oshun

    Ooohhhh!!!! sounds joooosay! Something straight out of that dude’s books.. The one that writes about black men and their lovers.

    Howdy, TX!

    • Tx10inch

      Lol. Hey Mami….

  • Sahel

    Hmm,let me try something. How are you doing Oshun,hope your fucking good

    • Val

      I thought you worked for disqus, now it’s been confirmed. I get moderated for saying hello and you drop the F bomb and nothing happens.

      • Sahel

        Am fucking awesome. It is fucking friday. What the fuck is one to do

        • Val

          Calm down.

        • iamnotakata

          How is it that your curse words don’t get filtered though?

          • Sahel

            Heir to the Disqus fortune. So i can mess around and say fuck

            • This is not fair at all. Im sick of spelling l!ke a t33naged id!ot to get my posts thru moderation!!

              • Sahel

                Life’s a bitch but i made her cum,holler

                • Rachmo

                  What is happening here. Did you fuck Disqus?

                  • BreezyX2

                    RACHMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Little chile of mine, NOT TODAY Ma’am…not today!!! CORNER!

                    • Rachmo

                      I know I know! I’ll watch my fucking mouth. Wait oops **skips to corner**

                  • Sahel

                    I let it loose for today baby. Show big daddy how bad your mouth is

                    • Rachmo

                      Haha don’t tempt me

                  • Ever notice how Sahel and Huck are never in the same room at the same time? #ImJustSaying

                    • afronica


                • Rachmo


      • panamajackson

        I legit have no idea how that happens. lol

    • Oshun

      I’m phakkin alright? What the phakk are you trying to do?

  • TheOtherJerome

    “Basically, the Stanford-educated Martin isn’t Black enough for some of his Black teammates to side with him instead of the thug hick who called him a “half-nIgger.”

    I read that they made Incognito an honorary black person. I also read that Martin was acting like a lame @ss who actually tried to stiff his fellow linemen on that Vegas bill.

    That being said…….

    What type of Uncle Tom do you have to be to turn a blind eye to Martin being racially harassed? Yeah perhaps Martin was a douche, but turning a blind eye to that sort of stuff is worse.

    I swear that whole Miami team is a bunch of so-so type ninjas. Whats next? The Black Dolphins let Coach whip them into shape with an actual bull-whip? It’s cool though, it helps bond the team. It’s kind of weird that only the Black ones get whipped though……

    • TheOtherJerome

      Where’s “Drop Squad” when you need em :-/

    • theyre cowards, period. theres nothing tough about sitting back and letting some white man call u or any black man around you a n 99er.

    • Excellent point. It’s like family. Yeah, sometimes they may act like idiots, but you still gotta have their back when ish gets real.

    • Rachmo

      “What type of Uncle Tom do you have to be to turn a blind eye to Martin being racially harassed? Yeah perhaps Martin was a douche, but turning a blind eye to that sort of stuff is worse.”- I totally agree. No matter the character of the person I’d have a hard time watching another Black person get racially harassed

    • Epsilonicus

      I would not pay the damn Vegas bill either. Tell those vets to go kick rocks.

  • I won’t derail this by talking about myself too much but as someone who has been depressed for long periods of my life several times my teammates calling me things wouldn’t really bother me because I’ve thought and said worse things about myself.

    As violent of a game as football is, it’s still just a game and just a job. I LOATHE how many war and military analogies to mentality people keep bringing up. Building up and molding your mental makeup to be prepared to go into an area where you have to be willing to kill, be killed, and watch people you’ve bonded with and trust around you die right in front of your eyes at any moment IS NOT LIKE PLAYING FOOTBALL ON ANY LEVEL. I grew up as a military brat with over a dozen men in my family having served in combat in some capacity ranging from the ages of 18-80. I’ve seen and experienced first hand for well over a decade what that can do to a person’s mentality when it comes to being shell shocked. The NFL doesn’t do anything near that.

    A lot of antics and attitudes when it comes to locker room culture is really just an excuse to be anything ranging from a jack*** to an all out psychopath with a massive support system. It is completely possible to be a decent human being (with a wide variety of personalities) and excel as an NFL player. The fact that so many grown men are pretending otherwise is absolutely pathetic and embarrassing. It’s almost always the loser teams and franchises that have this dumb ish going on.

    • Sahel

      When the next step can mean your demise or you end up seeing something that will scar you for the rest of your life is nothing like football. Am not going to be an armchair football player but as someone who has seen his share of conflict i totally agree with you. But i also wonder,is’nt it part of american culture,even during pledges to University Sororities the stuff they make those applying to join are crazy. But am open to being corrected

    • Val

      I wish I could give you 10 upvotes.

    • Joel

      “but as someone who has been depressed for long periods of my life several times my teammates calling me things wouldn’t really bother me because I’ve thought and said worse things about myself.”

      I agree 100 percent with you here.

      • Oshun

        woah. been a minute since I seen you on here. you got yourself a girlfriend?!?!

        • Joel

          Been a while, AM. At the moment I am still solo.

    • Dude…you do realize that there’s an entire universe outside of the military. You make it seem like that unless you aren’t in the military that you aren’t a real man, and you can’t have any emotion outside of some sensitive ish. Like either you’re a stone killing machine or a 80s R&B singer with nothing in between. Yeesh.

      • No, I’m saying that the idea that is justified to be a 2D meathead just because you play football is dumb. It’s a tough sport. Rugby is probably the only other organized sport in the world that takes near as much physical toll on you that football. At the end of the day though it’s still just an organized sport. It’s not that serious. There’s a certain level of recklessness that you need to have with your body in order to be successful, but you do not need a massive mental overhaul like you’re going into combat.

        The idea of a secret society would MAYBE be arguable in my mind if football wasn’t a nationally accepted billion dollar business all the way down to high school where there are 60 million dollar stadiums being built. Football is very much entrenched into general American society and should be treated as such which also means that people who play football should have the same standards and expectations for human decency as everyone else. The military IS a completely different world for the vast majority of Americans. Organized football is not.

        • MASSIVE mental overall like combat? I would agree with you. But to think you can compete in any sport, not to mention football, in the same way you would go about your office job is silly. For one, the sheer physicality does influence mental changes much different than being on the sidelines. Also, every line of work has their subcultures. Every. Single. One. You can imagine that a line of work that involves this much physicality is going to be a bit different from your typical office. While it’s right to ask for changes, it’s a bit silly to expect that a locker room to function like some White collar office.

          • It is definitely going to be different. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it being different. I’m just saying the idea that there needs to be carte blache leniency and understanding to football subculture and that it should in no way be critiqued or changed is bs. It’s still just an organized sport. Even outside of military examples, it’s not like this is like fishing or working on an oil rig with daily life or death situations. I feel like people keep putting it on that level of severity and seriousness as a reason to allow anything that goes along in the locker room to be deemed okay. I love football and I love sports. But they’re organized sports where the majority of the work takes place largely 1/2 of the year and will encompass a small percentage of your life in time at the workplace and the time total spent in your career.

    • Perfect articulation of how ppl view NFL players like demi-gods when they are just athletes. Not warriors, not heroes, not soldiers….just athletes earning a check.

    • Rachmo

      Dammit @madlark:disqus this was probably your best comment ever.

    • Secretsquid

      I got out of military duty. I joined the Navy!

  • Msdebbs

    You’re right P Jacksonville does suck…the team and the city. Idk a bunch of big dudes complaining about being bullied is kinda hard to take serious. I’m on the fence with this one idk if Martin needs a hug or if he just needs to grow a pair.

    • this is being played as martin vs incognito but i think it was more of the team against him, id like to still think that if martin could fade incognito and this all go away he wouldve

    • WIP

      I think this issue is cut and dry. Playing football in the NFL is a job. These dudes are not in college. If you are harassed at work, you let your superiors know. The response can’t be “well everybody gets harassed.”

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