One of the more compelling passages in Ted Wells's investigation into bullying and harassment in the Miami Dolphins locker room has to do with a text message Jonathan Martin sent to a friend last spring, when he was seriously considering leaving football. It offers unusual insight into the toll that playing in the NFL can take.
It lists what Martin saw at the time as the pros and cons of staying in the game; as it turns most of them don't have anything to do with the team's culture. Martin was concerned with, among other things, brain damage, how keeping on the weight required to play on the offensive line made his body feel, and the fact that continuing to play would prevent him from doing what any young guy with money would like to do, like travel and continue his education.
On May 6, Martin claimed, he continued to grapple with his frustration and his inability to respond to verbal abuse, and he considered abandoning his football career. That day, he sent the following text message to a friend, in which he listed pros and cons of continuing to play football:
-Football games are fun
-I can make a lot of money playing football and be set for life
-I have a legacy that will live after I die
-not many people get to live their childhood dream
-I am the left tackle for the Miami dolphins
-if I quit, I'll be known as a quitter for the rest of my life
-my legacy at Stanford will be tarnished
-I will never be able to look any coach from my past in the eye
-I hate going in everyday.
-I am unable to socialize with my teammates in their crude manner
-I already have a lot of money. I could travel the world, get my degree. Then get a real job
-I could lose 70 lbs and feel good about my body
-I won't die from CTE
-Maybe I'll start to LIKE myself
-I don't need to live lavishly. I could live very frugally
-why do I care about these people? All I need is my family