Harbaugh breaks down the loss to Browns
A topic of conversation in the Ravens locker room Wednesday was the Dolphins’ situation involving teammates Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito.
The Dolphins have suspended Incognito indefinitely, amid reports that he bullied Martin, and left Martin voicemail and text messages using racial slurs and threats. Asked his reaction to the reports, Ravens defensive lineman Chris Canty said there was no place for Incognito’s accused behavior in the NFL.
“I don’t think guys understood the extent of what was going on,” Canty said. “Leaving those remarks, and leading the charge on those type of racial attacks…there’s no place for it anywhere in society. We all recognize an NFL locker room is a different kind of workplace. That being said, there’s still no place for it.
“A locker room will typically police itself. I don’t think it’s a lack of leadership issue at all in Miami. I think guys didn’t understand the extent of what was going on. I don’t imagine that playing out well for Incognito in any NFL locker room.”
By suspending Incognito indefinitely, Canty felt the Dolphins took stronger measures than the Eagles took against wide receiver Riley Cooper this summer. A video surfaced showing Cooper using a racial slur during a concert. After apologizing, Cooper was fined, underwent counseling, and returned to the team.
“I do want to commend the Miami Dolphins for setting a precedent,” Canty said. “As opposed to what the Philadelphia Eagles decided to do, giving Riley Cooper a slap on the wrist. That emboldens people to continue to use those kinds of slurs, make those kind of remarks.”
When John Harbaugh became the Ravens’ head coach in 2008, he forbid many forms of rookie hazing.
“Not knowing what’s going on down there (Miami) as much, in 2008, that was one of the first things we did,” Harbaugh said. “We’re not a hazing team. It’s not what we’re about. Anybody that comes into our locker room is a teammate. You don’t’ have to earn your stripes that way.
“There are some fun things guys do. The guys have to buy chicken for the road trips, so Popeye’s gets a shout-out on that. But, our guys do a great job. When someone’s sitting alone at a table by themselves, go sit down and have lunch with them. Ask somebody how they’re doing. We also instituted in 2008 our mentoring program. Every rookie is assigned an older mentor. That’s been a plus for us.
“Nothing’s perfect, but it’s important. Ray Rice is huge in the anti-bullying campaign. All of us who have kids feel very strongly about that. As older adults, parents, coaches, teachers, I would think that we would be all over that in our society right now. Especially with computers and all the different things that are going on with social media. That’s our responsibility, to train our kids how to treat one another.”
Harbaugh said he was a victim of hazing in junior high school.
“When we were kids, we were taped to goalposts, stuffed in lockers when we were in seventh grade,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not just in football, or sports, it’s fraternities and sororities, it’s all those things. But there sure as heck better be a line. It was different 25 years ago. When I was in college at Miami (Ohio), there was hazing. I look back on it, it was things that you would never tolerate today. We’ve grown as a society.”
The situation has Dolphins coach Joe Philbin under scrutiny, but Harbaugh said a coach could never know everything that took place in a locker room.
“Things can be hidden from teachers and coaches,” Harbaugh said. “But you also have to be vigilante if you’re in a leadership position as a teacher or a coach, and try to ask a lot of questions, and try to talk to people all the time.”
At 3-5, at least the Ravens don’t have the kind of situation the Dolphins are dealing with.