Ryan:

There are many differences between a professional athlete and your regular average Joe. Of course a lot of these differences have to do with athletic ability, money and things of that nature. One aspect of being an athlete at the professional level that sometimes gets overlooked is the team aspect of things. When an athlete gets drafted onto a team that team becomes his family, and there are a lot of things that teammates do behind closed doors that the public doesn’t get to see. What I mean by this is that when the cameras are turned off professional athletes do things that might not seem normal to everyone else, but it is normal to them. This includes things like pranks, jokes, and one thing that I am going to focus on and that’s dialogue. Teammates in general talk to each other different than they talk to everyone else. I know this because I have been apart of many teams and have had many experiences where I say things to my teammates that I would never say to my parents or even my other friends. There are certain bonds you make with teammates that are not made with anyone else.

Nick:

The way people talk to one another varies between who the person is talking to. If a person is talking to a teacher or an employer (most of the time) or an elder of theirs, they may talk really formal and not joke around as much. But when it comes to people talking to their friends, well this is a whole new story, they may use nothing but slang talk. I played sports all growing up from when I was roughly 4 years old to when I was 19 years old so I witnessed joking, and “shit-talking” amongst friends of mine everyday. When you see a buddy of your’s or a teammate you may greet them, most of the time, by saying things like “what’s up p****” or “what up B****”. This was just common, at least for me, while growing up and it still is today. I still walk up to my friends and say hello this way, it is just what is normal now. If you are not someone who talks like this around your friends or even ever you may be alarmed by what you are hearing.

 Ryan:

This also changes when you are with the same teammates for a long period of time. When you are first put onto a team that has been together for a long time it is going to take a while for you to be on the same “level” socially as the rest of the members of the team. They might have inside jokes or situations have happened to them that you were not apart of so you are not incorporated into the team moral the same way as the guy that has been on the team for a few years. That is the beauty of a team and team moral though, newcomers are immersed into a family that is going to take them under their wing and make them one of their own. Soon the new teammate will feel equal to everyone else on the team. This concept of everyone being equal on a team is something that plays out in the dialogue of the team. A newcomer to the team will likely be the butt of the jokes and pranks and things like that. Sometimes this can get out of hand and a teammate could take exception to the way he/she is being treated. This can lead to many problems especially when it comes to the professional level because if these situations get leaked to the press people get in trouble.

Nick:

In recent sporting news, Richie Incognito, a guard for the Miami Dolphins, was accused of harassing a teammate of his, Jonathan Martin. The reports show that Incognito called him a N*****. Now I personally do not know if he was purposely harassing his teammate in a mean bullying kind of way or not, but based off what I have experience all my life through sports, I do not believe Richie was calling Martin names in a non-friendly way. What I believe happened is Incognito was just basically saying “what’s up” to Martin and someone heard Richie call him a N*****, and they blew the story out of proportion. I do not believe Martin was offended by the comment nor do I believe Incognito said it out of hatred.

 Ryan:

Team pranks and the way they talk to each other is something that people that are not apart of that team will not understand. This is when professional teams get into trouble because the media gets ahold of something that one teammate said to another and it turns into a nationwide issue of respect. Even though these teammates might call each other names on a consistent basis as soon as a person outside of the team gets involved the situation get blown way out of proportion. Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins got into serious trouble for calling a fellow lineman the N word on a voicemail he left at his house. Now this seems bad and all that a person would do that, but the thing is if Jonathan Martin the other lineman would not have gone to the media about this it would not have been a big deal. There are many examples of how Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito felt about each other and it was not negative at all. This whole thing turned into a big deal because instead Jonathan telling Richie to knock it off he told the media and now Richie is out of a job. The thing is situations like this happen all the time in professional sports people say mean things, but in a joking way and if the get taken out of context and just shown to everyone at home it seems very repulsive and mean. It is just like talking to your best friend and calling him a pussy for not doing something, if you take it out of context and other people hear that it sounds awful, but you two know that it is a joke and you do not think twice about it.

Nick:

This example of Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin is an example of how the media and public can take a story and make it bigger than it truly is. I do believe this sort of behavior is wrong, although it is common among friends and teammates. Yes this sort of talk should stop being a commonality between friends and teammates but the media also needs to know that Richie was not doing this out of hatred toward Martin.

 Ryan:

This is a situation where there were legal allegations and actions taken immediately to get rid of this problem. Sometimes there are things that happen within a team that cannot be taken care of right away. These types of things are usually like when two teammates do not get along well together, but have to play together because the team needs them. This happened with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. These two teammates were instrumental in the Lakers success in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, but the two could not stand each other. Once again this is a terrible thing, but it was taken way out of context when Shaq kept talking to the press to stir things up. If this issue was just resolved in the locker room were everyone understands what is going on this would not have been such a big deal. Now the two are friends and have no problems with each other. This is just another example of how locker room chat can be blown way out of proportion if the media or anyone else on the outside gets involved.

Nick:

The Shaq and Kobe example is another prime example of how things get taken way out of proportion. When these two teammates were playing together the public got the impression that the two of them were not at all friends but instead enemies that just had to play on the same basketball team. Yes it is also true that they talked some shit about one another to the media, which obviously made it seems as though they were not pals. But who’s to say they weren’t just doing this to get attention and after all they were maybe best friends. I think this is definitely a possibility because now, years later, they are just fine with each other. If the media would not have blown this whole situation way out of proportion then it would have “cooled” off early and nobody would have ever though of them as enemies. That is just a possibility though. The way the two talked about each other to the press was pretty dirty, but this was all from some talk the press heard from the locker room so they wanted to explore the situation a bit further.

Ryan:

There are many things that can go wrong when dealing with locker room chatter. No matter if the media hears something and runs with it, or maybe a player goes to the media to out another teammate it all sounds worse once dialogue behind closed doors becomes public. There is no possible way other than if you were apart of the team that anyone could fully understand exactly what is going on in the locker room behind closed doors. The media tries to do their best in getting an idea of what the players are thinking and talking about, but that will never tell the full story.  Locker room talk and gimmicks should be left there, in the locker room, not brought out to the public by media or professional athletes. Nothing good comes out of making something public that was meant to be kept private. There is also nothing good that comes out of a player outing another player through media those issues should be resolved behind closed doors because no one, but the players and coaches around that team, will be able to understand what is going on.

Nick:

What goes on in locker rooms is between the team and the organization itself. The fact that the media thinks they have to go in and stir up some drama between two players. Lets say a player has a bad game and another player expresses this to that teammate but in kind of a constructive criticism kind of way and the media hears about it and takes it way out of context. I am sure this happens all the time. Nobody truly knows what is said or at least meant by what is said in a locker room unless you are a part of this team or organization. The press/media likes to take these kinds of stories and expand them into something that is totally not needed and they make the public think there is something seriously wrong when in the end it is really nothing. The media can also ruin a player’s career or life by what they blow out of context. I believe the Incognito thing is not what they make it to be but because they have blow the situation out of proportion, Richie is catching some hell from it.

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