Roy Exum: Too Big To Be Bullied

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I was saddened Monday morning to learn the Miami Dolphins had suspended starter Richie Incognito in the wake of puzzling reports another Dolphin, 6-foot-5, 350-pound tackle Jonathan Martin, had left the team in fear. Bullying is about cowards and to see it in the National Football League is not surprising in light of recent behavioral issues but sad just the same.

Then I opened my email yesterday and saw where an anti-gay activist had tried to bully me as well. Last Saturday I wrote that in my daily opinion that I believe that the city of Chattanooga should approve same-sex employee benefits later this week. I knew when I wrote it that it is a controversial subject but I think every employee should be treated fairly. Others feel differently, and their opinions I respect, but I wasn’t quite prepared for what I found on my Facebook page on Monday morning.

In response to my article, a Facebook “friend” April Eidson posted, “(Your writings) are always interesting. However, the piece has highly defensive denials of your own sexuality. I think you are gay, based upon defensiveness. You reiterate over and over you are not gay, which indicates to me you are concerned with the perception of being gay. You should explore the inner you, Advocate, and jump right out of that closet with (City Councilman) Chris Anderson.”

Oh my goodness! Not 15 minutes after I had read where the loathsome Incognito had used homosexual slurs and parts of human beings’ anatomy to bully his huge target, the same hatred was now being splashed on me and, while I can summon a lifetime of witnesses who would be most amused to testify about my sexual orientation, I can also see that none among us are too big to be bullied.

April’s belief that I am gay resulted in my day’s first belly laugh but in Jonathan Martin’s case it is far worse. An insider told Fox Sports’ respected Jason La Canfora that is exactly why the second round draft choice from Stanford left the Miami team. “It's hard to picture a 6-foot-5, 350-lb football player as being the victim of bullying, but that's exactly what took place here,” Canfora quoted his contact. “He is genuinely scared of what (Richie) Incognito might do to him, or has threatened to do to him.”

Shortly after the embarrassed Dolphins suspended Incognito on Sunday night, the transcript of an April telephone message allegedly left by Incognito on Martin’s voice-mail was leaked to ESPN. “Hey, wassup, you half (racial slur) piece of (profanity.) I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. (I want to) (profanity) in your (profanity) mouth. I am going to slap your (profanity) mouth. (I am going to) slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. (Profanity) you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”

Incognito, who played at Nebraska before being suspended indefinitely, also played briefly at Oregon before being kicked off the Ducks team to end his college career. He is a noted thug in pro football circles, being voted as the “Dirtiest Player” in the NFL during the 2009 season and was “first runner-up” for the dubious award last season.

Incognito, a 9-year veteran, has been placed on indefinite suspension after playing in every game this season and it is being reported that both the Dolphins and the NFL have evidence of Incognito’s alleged cruelty. An official Dolphins statement read, “We believe in maintaining a culture of respect for one another and as a result we believe this decision is in the best interest of the organization at this time. As we noted earlier, we reached out to the NFL to conduct an objective and thorough review. We will continue to work with the league on this matter."

For the record, my email about my Saturday story has been running about 40 percent in agreement, 30 percent in disagreement and 30 percent who didn’t seem to care. Collegedale has already approved same-sex employee benefits and Knoxville did so last week. Other cities in the state and the nation are also considering legislation despite vocal opposition.

I have long held the opinion that foul language, slurs and insults weaken an argument rather than bolster it and to call someone vile names, attack their character and hurl obvious lies always defames the accuser far more than the target. In a complex web of social media, one’s integrity is what matters and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Incognito’s career suffer perilous damage if an NFL investigation proves Martin’s claims are valid.

Bullying is rampant in our country – now all the way to the NFL -- and it will only stop when good people rise up and shout it down.

royexum@aol.com



Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus, House Republicans Weekly Wrap Up

The Tennessee Senate passed several key bills this week, including the state budget and major legislation to curb opioid abuse, as the 2018 session of the Tennessee General Assembly draws to a close. The $37.5 billion “no growth” budget proposes state government spending for the next fiscal year that begins July 1, 2018 and extends to June 30, 2019.  The balanced budget, ... (click for more)

What's The Law On Firearm Target Practice In Chattanooga? - And Response

All my life I’ve been plagued by people citing unwritten rules and regulations that are always news to me. As a child, a boy, a man, there’s been a steady stream of those who pretend to explain things to me, while really just voicing their personal opinions. Such explanations are usually intended to insult, embarrass, humiliate, or intimidate the victim.  I can handle facts; ... (click for more)

Jury Clears Juvenile Judge Philyaw Of Discrimination Charge In Dismissal Of Openly Gay Magistrate

A federal jury deliberated about an hour on Tuesday afternoon before ruling in favor of Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw, who had been sued by an openly gay magistrate that he dismissed. Judge Travis McDonough had dismissed the other two defendants - Court Administrator Sam Mairs and Hamilton County - from the case at the close of the proof. Judge Philyaw said, "I thank the ... (click for more)

City Of Chattanooga Calls On Salvation Army To Open Overnight Shelter For Individuals Displaced From Brownfield Property

City officials said this past weekend, the Salvation Army was called upon by the city to extend shelter for those displaced from the encampment that was forced to close on 11 th Street due to hazardous living conditions. “We are continuing to stay in contact with those displaced from the contaminated site and are working to get them into more permanent housing,” said Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Moc Golfers Tied For 2nd at SoCon Championships

It was a cold, miserable, soggy day at Pinehurst No. 9 for the second round of the Southern Conference Men’s Golf Championships. It showed for the Chattanooga Mocs as they dropped into a tie for second with ETSU at 594. “We got off to a great start over the first three or four holes and I thought this could be a really good day,” Coach Mark Guhne began. “Then we started to ... (click for more)

Lookouts Drop Double Header To First-Place Jackson Generals Monday

Jackson, TN.- The Jackson Generals are running away with the Southern League North division's first-half title with a 15-2 record. On Monday, they won the second and third games of their series against the Chattanooga Lookouts with a 7-0 shutout in Game One, and a come-from-behind 7-6 walk-off win in Game Two. A year ago, Zack Littell went 19-1 between two levels and three teams. ... (click for more)