Okay, okay…it get that the term “wenches” is misogynistic by definition, but bear with me here…
This Miami Dolphin fiasco reminds me of another era I lived through. Remember when cops and fire”men” were just that? Men.
The sophomoric, locker-room banter that has characterized the hazing incidents involving Pro Football players Johnathan Martin and Richie Incognito are emblematic of a foregone era…one in which there were more workplaces exclusive to men. Fire Departments were one of them.
As a lad beginning my career in the fire department, hazing, horseplay, locker-room banter, and outright mental abuse was all part and parcel of the initiation process. I engaged in my share of dishing it out as well. Did I enjoy it? At times. Was it healthy and conducive to a professional workplace? Absolutely not. Do I regret my participation in it? In hindsight, yes…
What we created and fostered in those days was an environment of exclusivity…an old boys club if you will. Weakness and introspection were strictly frowned upon and frequently the target of harassment. In today’s workplace, that type of behavior would have you out on your ass before you could say, well…ass. Professional male sports such as football, has remained exempt to a degree from these common-sense employment standards. Why? Because there are no women.
That’s right…the advent of women in public service immediately spelled the end of this type of childish and destructive behavior. Oh, I admit, I fought it to some extent, as we all did, but in the end, I came to realize it was simply the right thing to do. The introduction of women into the fire department all but ended the days of hazing and boorish behavior. Oh, I’m sure it still goes on to some extent, but nowhere near the degree that it did back in the day.
What will it take to end this cruelty in professional sports?
I applaud Mr. Martin for his courageous stand in the face of overwhelming hatred from his own “team”. His teammates are jumping on the Incognito bandwagon and pathetically attempting to hang on to the last bastion of male neanderthalism.
Enough. It’s done. Time to put on your big boy pants gentleman and start acting like, well, gentleman.