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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

Years with the company: Just started with Bonneville, but have worked for and with KTAR AM and FM since 1991.

Career: I always knew my career would be touched by news. I started as a news intern in 1991 and eventually reported news and sports, and anchored newscasts at KTAR when it was an AM, news/talk/sports station. I went to work at the Attorney General's Office in 1995, as a spokesperson for the 300 attorneys there, and for Attorney General Grant Woods. I returned as a part-time host and host of Arizona's Morning News Saturday in 2001.

Education: I escaped Catholic school early when the nuns wanted me to skip the second grade. I found my independent voice at a private grade school in Painesville, Ohio, then called Phillips Elementary. The teachers there encouraged us to ask questions and challenge the status quo. They took us on mind-opening trips and never once treated us like children. I am grateful for those years! I left Ohio in 1988 to attend Arizona State University because I knew I wanted to live in the West. I majored in Journalism and interned at KTAR in the newsroom my senior year.

Family: I am the last of nine children and my parents were undoubtedly looking at retiring when I was born. I was raised early on mostly by my five wonderful sisters. I have so many first cousins that I haven't yet met most of them.

Favorite movie: Caddyshack and anything by John Hughes.

#1 sports team: NL Diamondbacks. AL Cleveland Indians. Gotta love a team whose mascot is named Chief Wahoo.

Outside interests: Working out, cooking, traveling and reading a great book.


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