Have sports commentators and fans lost their collective minds?
Hasn't even a single one of them ever played on a post-Pop Warner football team? You know, where teammates--ESPECIALLY the linemen-- routinely smash, insult, gross out, cuss out, and variously abuse one another 6 days a week? And then unite together in common cause on the seventh day, where they sacrifice literally bone and blood for each other against the Common Enemy?
One point that I've seen no-one else make--so I will make it here. In a given season, your average high-school-on-up football player actually plays against opposing teams less than 10% of the season. Depending on practice hours, more than 90% of their playing is done in practice, against one another.
Of course, there is a double competitive element during team practices: first, who will be chosen by the coach to be the starting players, and get lots of playing time, glory, and in the pros, money; second, how the team will practice against one another such that the whole team gets the maximum out of its potential, and works at its best as a collective unit on game day. Every single player, coach, and participant at every level understands this as self-evident and hopelessly obvious. "We play as hard as we can AGAINST EACH other in practice all week, so we can work TOGETHER as cohesively as we can on game day. Of course!"
My gaawwd, in the practices and in the locker room after the practices, football teammates are brutal to one another...but this brutality is designed to elevate every player's performance, to ruthlessly get the most out of each player's potential, so the team will perform to its maximum potential. Of course, in other sports similar things are done, but no other sport requires hugely muscled players to literally smash, grab, and slam into one another with maximum force and velocity on every single play of the game. When a baseball player tries to make a point to his teammates by slamming his own head into his own locker, it's an exception; when a football player does it, it's routine.
By all accounts, Richie Incognito was the Big Dawg amongst the Miami linemen, and took it upon himself to psyche up his comrades by time-tested and well-accepted techniques: threats, humiliations, insults, racial/ethnic/religious slurs (yes, and they traditionally go BOTH ways amongst teammates), and believe it or not, a vigorous and sincere bout of praise when he feels the teammate would really benefit from it (which is rarely). Maybe he misjudged Jonathan Martin, maybe he did not; but no-one denies that Incognito's sole purpose was to psyche up Jonathan Martin so he would maximize his performance.
It may be useful to take a little trip down memory lane, to see how athletes used to view these things in the 1960's, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. One of my childhood heroes was the Boston Celtics center Bill Russell, who won 11 NBA championships over his 13 year career. Russell played 9 of those years with forward Tommy Heinsohn (who later coached the Celtics to two more championships.) Here is what Russell wrote in his autobiography "Go Up For Glory" in 1966:
"I said one time and I say it again that
(Celtics coach Red) Auerbach made one big
mistake with Heinsohn. He should have made
Heinsohn run until he fell down and then thrown
water on him and told him to start running again."
Wow. THAT doesn't sound very sensitive. Sounds a little brutal, even cruel. And do I really need to point out that Russell was black, and Heinsohn a pale-face?
But then again...There ARE those 11 championships in 13 years...Hmmmm...
The obvious unstated purpose of this Incognito/Martin "narrative" is to land a decisive blow in the bizarre Progressive battle to emasculate our culture. This is a dangerous trend that has accelerated in the Obama years (notice that the mom-jeans President has officially stated that he would not let his son play football, if he had a son). But these Progressives fail to understand that if you suppress and extirpate normal, healthy masculine urges that have been channeled into productive and controlled areas, then the result will NOT be less masculinity; the result will be abnormal, unhealthy masculine actions exploding in destructive and uncontrolled areas. You have less riflery clubs, hunters and soldiers; you'll have more gangbangers and psycho gunmen. Less football players and boxers; more wife-beating and rape.
We all need to push back against this idiotic emasculation of what should be a wholesome and properly balanced society, where masculinity and femininity bring out the best in each other by bold contrast, without the relentless demoralization of one by a baleful ideology.