Miami Dolphins workplace bullying has the nation talking

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Suspended from the Miami Dolphins since Sunday night, Richie Incognito is being investigated for alleged bullying.

The target of the alleged bullying was fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has appointed a special counsel to investigate the case, including whether the Dolphins told Incognito to toughen up his teammate.

The alleged harassment included voice mails containing racial slurs and violent threats. Media outlets ESPN and obtained voice mails allegedly from Incognito to Martin. This is one of the messages from April:

"Hey, wassup, you half (expletive) piece of (expletive). I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. I'll (expletive) in your (expletive) mouth. I'm gonna slap your (expletive) mouth, I'm gonna slap your real mother across the face (laughter). (Expletive) you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."

"Even though it's professional football, it's still a workplace and when you're in that setting, in that environment that shouldn't happen," said Darius Young.

Young works for the state of Missouri as a Healthy Workplace legislative coordinator. He says criticism directed at Jonathan Martin is insensitive. Some NFL players and fans are questioning why he didn't fight back against Incognito.

"People are saying 'He should be stronger, he should be stronger, he's a football player, and he should be a man.' I mean, he is," said Young. "But he's a man who obviously feared something. We can't make that assumption that just because he's a big guy and he plays football that he should be stronger."

Young says it remains to be seen if the NFL culture will be changed because of this incident.

"You can go too far with these kinds of things and it forces it to be just what it is. Bullying," he said.

Bullying experts say knowledge is power. Do your homework and learn everything you can about workplace bullying. That includes your company's bullying and harassment policy.

Keep a detailed log of the bully's behavior along with copies of email and memos. If possible, make the case that the bully is costing the company money, especially if people are quitting.

Eventually, tough decisions have to be made, like talking to a mental health professional, challenging the bully, trying to convince superiors to take action, or looking for another job.

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