Jonathan Martin, the Miami Dolphins offensive lineman, wrote this text to his mother in April, 2013, according to the Ted Wells Report:
I figured out a major source of my anxiety. I’m a push over, a people pleaser. I avoid confrontation whenever I can, I always want everyone to like me. I let people talk about me, say anything to my face, and I just take it, laugh it off, even when I know they are intentionally trying to disrespect me. I mostly blame the soft schools I went to, which fostered within me a feeling that I’m a huge pussy, as I never got into fights. I used to get verbally bullied every day in middle school and high school, by kids that are half my size. I would never fight back, just get sad & feel like no one wanted to be my friend, when in fact I was just being socially awkward. Most people in that situation are witty & quick with sarcastic replies, I never have been. I’m awkward around people a lot of the time because I simply don’t know how to act around them . . .
If you look at the texts that Martin and Incognito swapped, there’s a lull in early April – Incognito was bouncing between college spring break and Las Vegas. Martin’s mother responded:
My first thought is that I am glad you wrote this down as a way to start figuring it out. There are people in the world with their own insecurities and they tend to be bullies and confront people. Dealing with them can be a challenge. I think when you feel really good about yourself they won’t bother you as much because you won’t let them define you. This fits into wanting to please and be liked. Some people out there are not worth it. W e do live in a bubble. Financial and professional success is sheltering. W hich is both good and bad. I think the NFL has a disproportionate share of people who are obscure but masking it with aggression. Your profession is really difficult with measurement and evaluation every week. So we need to build up you liking you. This is where some professional help would be good. They can help you structure your thoughts. And that whole brain chemistry thing is real. You may need some additional seratonin. . . .
And here’s Martin again:
I care about my legacy as a professional athlete. But I’m miserable currently. A therapist & medication won’t help me gain the respect of my teammates. I really don’t know what to do Mom
A week after those texts to his mom, he sent this to his dad:
People call me a Nigger to my face. Happened 2 days ago. And I laughed it off. Because I am too nice of a person. They say terrible things about my sister. I don’t do anything. I suppose it’s white private school conditioning, turning the other cheek
Martin’s father responded:
They think nigger is okay because black people use it. Tell them you don’t use it and it is never okey and if they do it again then they can kiss your black ass. Likewise say that your sister is a Madonna. If they say it again they can kiss your ass. If they do say either again then just stare at them give them and give them your finger.
Just so you know, I punked out many times including over nigger. Also over just being black. Mot proud of it in the least. It is just a matter of understanding your own strength. Had 3 white boys outside of a bowling alley calling me nigger. I backed down. Had a Harvard asshole talk about my suntan. I backed down. Just stay who you are. Also, I learned how to pop a bully in his mouth and kicked one in his balls.
Martin sent this to his father in early May, after a yacht trip with teammates:
I’m never gonna change. I got punked again today. Like a little bitch. And I never do anything about it. I was sobbing in a rented yacht bathroom earlier
Six months later, Martin left the Dolphins.