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Final Word: Hostile work environment exists even in pro sports

NFL linemen Richie Incognito, left, and Jonathan Martin.

This story about the bully NFL player just gets more interesting, doesn't it?

The Miami Dolphins have suspended Richie Incognito, and second-year player Jonathan Martin left the team on his own, but where does it go from here? And how will it affect the behavior of players in the future?

OK, if Richie Incognito is racially motivated in his harassment, he has no place in the NFL. The Miami Dolphins should have had a better handle on what was going on in their locker room. A little hazing is one thing, but the stories coming out of Miami are over the top.

But the part of this story that bothers me the most is that the rookies were expected to pick up the tab for the veterans' restaurant tabs and boys trips.

I get it. If you sign the biggest contract on the team, you might take your offensive line out to dinner. A gift at the end of the year is always nice.

But in football, where very little money is guaranteed, I think you need to leave the rookies alone.

What may have started out as a fun tradition appears to have gotten out of hand.

The racial comments are uncool, period, but those actions, when reported, are dealt with. And what the players do to each OTHER to take care of such behavior is usually worse than the legal punishment.

And when they get widely reported, the fan backlash against the offender is bad too.

Should Martin have put his foot down and said no? Yep. Should he have told someone about the racist messages and have expected it to be taken care of? Absolutely.

But he shouldn't be punished for being the victim of a hostile work environment, even if that environment is the National Football League.

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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