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



Roy Exum: Thanksgiving Eve

I don’t know who was the first to do the Famous Pregnant Turkey prank but I’ll bet you a handful of giblets there will be a lot of copycats who try it today. The trick is finding a Cornish hen that is small enough to stuff inside the larger turkey. Then you skillfully pack the bird with some of that sausage-sage dressing and put your Thanksgiving dinner in the oven. When all ... (click for more)

Thankful For Tennessee

While Christmas reigns supreme as a holiday marking the birth of our Lord, I have always felt a special connection with Thanksgiving. These days Christmas unfortunately includes ubiquitous commercialism which can distract us from the true meaning of the day. Thanksgiving stands apart from all that. This day gives us an opportunity to reflect and take stock of our many blessings.  ... (click for more)

Hixson Burglary Suspect Tries To Swim Away; Deputies Catch Him In Borrowed Boat

A Hixson burglary suspect on Wednesday tried to swim away from deputies, but to no avail.   The proprietor of Chattanooga Fish and Fun was notified when his camera system was triggered by an individual attempting to break into his business. The owner immediately contacted the Sheriff's Office and drove to the business location.   As deputies arrived on scene, ... (click for more)

5 Disinherited Adopted Children Of Dr. J. Don Brock May Share In Rich Estate After All

Five disinherited adopted children of the late Chattanooga businessman J. Don Brock may share in his large estate after all. After losing at the trial court and appeals court level, the plaintiffs won a victory at the Tennessee Supreme Court. Justice Cornelia Clark ruled in favor of the adopted children and remanded the case to the trial court for settlement of the estate. ... (click for more)

Rodney Stoker Wins Turkey Trot 8K Again

It has been about 15 years since Rodney Stoker captured first place overall in the annual Sports Barn Turkey Trot, but he’s been doing some serious training in recent weeks and it paid off Thursday morning as the 41-year-old former UTC standout was victorious with a time of 27 minutes, 18 seconds. Dylan Hassett, a promising 24-year-old from Atlanta who is making her way as a ... (click for more)

JOHN HUNT: Thanksgiving 2017 Special As Always

I can’t believe it’s that time again.  Another year has come and gone and where did it all go? My father once told me that time really flies as you get older and I’m starting to believe him. But we’re back to one of my favorite holidays of the year – Thanksgiving – and I’m looking forward to spending quality time with family and friends.  I’m sure that I’ll eat too ... (click for more)