Sports talk radio is not known as a haven for nuanced discussion of mental health, and sports jocks around the country have stumbled talking about Jonathan Martin's Facebook post yesterday detailing his long struggle with mental-health issues and his numerous suicide attempts.
However, perhaps no one went further out of line talking about Martin's struggles than Brett Romberg did this morning. The former Miami Hurricanes center who went on to play ten seasons in the NFL is now a part-time co-host of 790 The Ticket's morning show, and when the rest of the crew was discussing Martin's post, Romberg jumped in and bluntly declare that Martin is a "piece of garbage."
The exchange starts at around the 8:00 mark.
"He's a piece of garbage," Romberg interjects during the discussion.
"Oh, hey, whoa, whoa," mutters a co-host.
"He is. He's a piece of garbage. The guy affected so many people's lives around here," Romberg continues. "If you really think about, Jonathan Martin has been sitting at home typing up his monologue or his inner monologue on Facebook. Talking about, 'Woe is me. I've had issues.'"
Romberg then paraphrases his version of Martin's note.
"Dude you are a piece of garbage to come in and create this hurricane of a storm inside of a professional football organization locker room where you've got guys just falling on the sword left and right. They got ridiculed. Richie was made such an example of in the country, and yeah Richie's my friend, and I like to stand up for him, and I have a spot in my heart for Incognito. But if you really think about Richie and how he was crucified throughout the national media."
Richie Incognito currently is being paid $1.1 million this season to play for the Buffalo Bills, incidentally.
"You wanna cry about committing suicide and all this other stuff man, just don't, don't talk about it anymore," Romberg says.
Here's how Martin ended his post yesterday: "You let your demons go, knowing that, perhaps, sharing your story can help some other chubby, goofy, socially-isolated, sensitive kid getting bullied in America who feels like no one in the world cares about them, and let them know that they aren't alone."
Romberg continues on, but his main point is that it's Jonathan Martin's fault for being bullied and causing the scandal because Martin had mental-health problems. His co-host theorizes that without Incognito, Martin still would have imploded in some way or another.
Of course, they all seem to forget about Incognito's own well-known rage issues and mental-health problems that pre-dated the scandal.
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"Throughout my career, people had mentioned, 'Maybe you need to start some medication, just to kind of get things balanced out, because you're so far out of whack,'" Incognito told NFL.com of his decision to take Paxil, and antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication, just months before the scandal broke. "I kept saying, 'I don't want to live like that. I don't want to have to depend on medicine to balance me out.' I just wouldn't give up the power."
However, Incognito claimed he was not formally diagnosed with a mental illness. Incognito also said in the same interview that because of his well-known behavior problems in the past that his stint with the Dolphins might be his last chance.
So, Martin may have been bringing his history of issues and problems into the locker room but was so Incognito. I'm not sure how you end up blaming the victim for the same thing his antagonist did as well.
Later on in the show, the rest of the hosts addressed criticism they had received from listeners about not only Romberg's take on the subject but their own as well.