Jonathan Martin’s high school football coach claims that the Miami Dolphins’ lineman’s polite demeanor may have made him the perfect target for bullies in the team’s locker room.
In an interview with the Palm Beach Post, Vic Eumont, Martin’s former football coach at Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City, Calif., said that Martin’s nonconfrontational personality likely made him an easy target for bullies. Eumont claims that Martin fit in well at Harvard-Westlake and at Stanford University, but ran into problems after he joined the Dolphins.
“Bullies usually go after people like him,” Eumont told the Palm Beach Post. “With his background, he’s a perfect target.”
Eumont told the paper that Martin, a highly-educated man whose parents attended Harvard University, may not have been prepared for the hazing that occurs in an NFL locker room. “Before he wasn’t around Nebraska, LSU kind of guys,” the high school coach said. “He’s always been around Stanford, Duke, Rice kind of players.”
“He always wanted to make everybody happy and make friends and not be a problem,” Eumont added. “All of his teachers loved him. All of his teammates loved him. His nickname was Moose and he was happy to have that. He was always a ‘yes or no sir,’ do whatever you ask him to do. I can see where somebody that’s a bully will take advantage of him, and rather than him say anything would just hold it inside.”
Martin, 23, left the Dolphins and checked himself into a hospital after a bullying incident in the team cafeteria, various media outlets reported. Eventually, ESPN reported that Dolphins teammate Richie Incognito had played a major role in bullying Martin, forcing the rookie to pay for a trip to Las Vegas and sending him a racially-charged, threatening voicemail. Incognito has since been suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.
Eumont believes that Martin was too embarrassed to tell Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin that he was being bullied. “That’s when he turned inward,” he said. “Eventually you’re going to explode. At least he didn’t explode into violence. He exploded by walking away.”
Still, Eumont hopes that Dolphins officials are willing to work with Martin and salvage his place in the locker room. “I think he’s a guy the Dolphins should work to get back in the fold. I think he can be an excellent player. He’s a great kid. He’s worth saving. If ever there’s a kid worth saving, he’s one of them.”
[h/t Larry Brown Sports]