Just Sayin': Players, coaches react to allegations in Miami

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

While the NFL investigates the actions that led offensive tackle Jonathan Martin to leave the Miami Dolphins last week and Richie Incognito's role in the situation, the story resonates in all locker rooms, from head coaches to players who survived what is often accepted as rookie hazing or initiation.
The Sports Xchange looks at what people around the NFL are Just Sayin':

--New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara, who was hazed as a rookie by teammates who forced him into a cold tub.
"I was definitely trying to put myself in Jonathan's shoes and see if it was identical to my situation. Last year, with what I went through, I'm still sticking to my story: That wasn't bullying at all. That was just fun in the locker room. I definitely do feel safe in my workplace. And if I didn't feel safe in my workplace, I would have definitely said something to other players or to my coaches.
"I would say it's probably lightened up a little bit, but they're still giving me crap. The only thing is, I definitely give it back."

--New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, Incognito's teammate at Nebraka and with the St. Louis Rams
"None of it shocks me. This seems to be a person with a tortured soul. He has had his issues for quite a while, I could say ... I don't know the details, but this seems to be something that has been haunting him for a decade. ...
"He always has been a fighter in the league, in the locker room, on the field, practice field, teammate or opponent. Again, just something he hasn't been able to kick. It's unfortunate. It's sad. He has always been a sweetheart of a guy to me. Eventually, your problems catch up with you."

--Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace
"I love Richie, man. I personally think he's a great guy. Everybody knows that. I don't think he did anything that he wouldn't do on a regular basis. I don't think he was out of hand. I think he was just being Richie."

--Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett.
"I've had a few incidents with that guy, I've seen other playes have incidents with that guy, I've seen everything he has tried to do to hurt guys. It's unfortunate you try to mentally hurt guys you need to win football games, actually a guy on the same side as you. That's very unfortunate.
"Everything I've seen I'm pretty sure you've seen it too. Anybody that's been around sports has seen this guy. It ain't hard, Just Google it. I'm not going to get into details because I honestly don't care about the guy at all. I'm just glad the NFL and the Miami Dolphins are taking action. I don't have any respect for the guy."

--Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who was acquired via trade two weeks ago.
"When I got here, he was a guy who had everybody laughing and told jokes. I didn't really see the side being portrayed right now."

--Former Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions defensive end Lawrence Jackson, who was punched in a game by Incognito in 2009 during a Rams-Seahawks game.
"Hate is a strong word, but I've always hated Richie Incognito. Just for perspective, he's the guy that makes you want to spit in his face."

--Stanford coach David Shaw, offensive coordinator during Jonathan Martin's three seasons with the Cardinal.
"We're proud of Jonathan. The biggest thing for Jonathan, in my mind, is getting him back to a position where he's ready to play the game that he loves. We're talking about something that, as more comes out, we're finding out this is not just Jon being oversensitive, this is Jonathan being the first person to speak out about what's been going on."

--New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas
"In our locker room, it's simple: Do what we say and you won't get hazed. If you don't, you'll get thrown in the cold tub or your shirt will get cut up. But that's about it. Prince was talking back that day, so he got thrown in the cold tub. If you don't listen as a rookie, your choices are very limited."

--Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll
"We don't allow hazing here, and that's been just the way that I've posted it from the start. I didn't feel like there was any place for it, but in the past yeah I've seen it. It's just an old school way of thinking and a way of operating. We know better, we know better now, and any time that we get a chance to express at it, it couldn't be more clear and more obvious to us all now and we just need to do a really good job of sending the message properly. That's not to say that there aren't little rituals that go on like guys carrying helmets off of the field and stuff like that, but we don't have time. Our rookies that come in here and our freshmen that came into college are too much a part of the program to be separated in any kind of fashion like that. We just didn't have any place for it."

--Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith, who was suspended one game for swinging his helmet at Incognito during a preseason game in 2013.
"You are what you are I guess."

--San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy
"We do not allow hazing here. There are certain rituals that go on in the league, but one message we stressed here is there is no hazing rookies. The reason we told everyone was because it's their job. It's tough enough in this league for a young player to make it in the NFL. To have to worry about coming in one morning to shave heads -- that is not allowed here. I let the players know that from day one. This is their job and we are a team. There are certain things that the rookies do for the veterans, but we set the standard from day one. There is a lot of good things here with the players that we have. You encourage them to interact and do things. We don't want you to be just a number. We are a family here and that is one big thing we stress. I talked to (owner) Dean Spanos the very first day I interviewed with him. He said this is the San Diego Chargers organization and we want to represent it the right way. We want the right type of people come in here and be proud to be a Charger. Do whatever you can to get to know each other and help each other."

--Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan
"I have never experienced that since I've been in coaching. I've never experienced that type of locker room or that type of atmosphere that was explained to me, anyhow. You do get at times guys that are a little bit more nervous, or younger guys, rookies, than other guys and you've kind of got to watch over them because sometimes one person might be a little bit shy, one person's a little different type of personality, and at least over the years we try to keep an eye on those type of young guys - I'm talking about rookies coming out. Some people have hazing, other people don't. I've never been much into hazing - just the opposite. You want these guys to feel comfortable even though they do have to carry shoulder pads and things along those lines. But everybody treats them a little bit different."

--Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano
"Never really been around it, fortunately. I can't speak to anybody else's locker room except our own. We try to create an environment and a culture here based on our core values, which are trust, loyalty and respect. We got great veteran leaders in our locker room that take care of things. Our guys, we talk about serving and respecting one another. We're fortunate. We got a great locker room and a great building."

--Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett
"There's some things that have happened in football for a long, long time. Rookies singing at dinner, rookies carrying shoulder pads, rookies buying fried chicken as you go to the airplane, all that stuff. That's been around forever and that's part of the process and part of what this league has been about for a long, long time. Hopefully it's always done in a way where it's developing team camaraderie and team chemistry and it's good for your team. If it comes close to crossing the line, it certainly has to be addressed. I haven't seen it like that in my career as a player, as a coach."

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