Sometimes, the good guy does win

Jonathan Martin got what he deserved.

Well, for the most part, anyway.

He has a second chance — a fresh start, if you will — to work and play in a safe environment under a head coach with whom he has a healthy past history from his college days.

Sometimes, the good guy does win. Sometimes, good things happen to good people. Sometimes, nice guys don’t finish last.

Martin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional draft pick Tuesday. As part of the deal, the Miami Dolphins — Martin’s former team — will receive a seventh-round draft pick in 2015 if he makes the 49ers’ opening 53-man roster.

He tweeted on Twitter that he had “big news,” that he felt “beyond blessed,” that “opportunities are few in the NFL” and that he “can’t wait to get to work” with his new team.

It’s a rebirth of sorts for the youngster, who has endured the kind of treatment at the hands of former teammates from which we all wish we could shield our children. His is a story that will break your heart even if you aren’t a parent. He could be your brother, cousin, nephew, friend — anyone.

The 24-year-old offensive lineman, who played for current 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh at Stanford University, was the victim of bullying at the hands of three teammates while a member of the Dolphins from 2012-13, according to the findings of the intensive 144-page Report to the National Football League Concerning Issues of Workplace Conduct at the Miami Dolphins by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Ringleader Richie Incognito and his two main cronies, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, subjected Martin, at least one other offensive lineman and an assistant trainer to blatantly racist, vile, inhumane comments and treatment that included, among other things, inappropriate touching, on an everyday basis inside and outside of the work environment.

What I want to know is why all three of those thugs aren’t behind bars, when, in reality, I already know the answer: Professional athletes, celebrities, whatever you choose to call them rarely get their just desserts when they — AHEM — behave badly. In the real world, we call it breaking the law, and we would be fired and most likely criminally charged for such horrific behavior.

In my book, no one is above the law.

I was ready to rip into Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey as soon as I had calmed down enough after reading the aforementioned report, but I think the thing speaks for itself. The entire world can see firsthand what worthless pieces of garbage these monsters truly are since the report was made public in February. It is my hope that none of them ever will play another down of football at the very least, but that more than likely is wishful thinking on my part.

As it is, the Dolphins fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and head athletic trainer Kevin O’Neill in February for allowing and contributing to the bullying that wasn’t just limited to Martin. The Dolphins also decided to part ways — albeit mutually — with general manager Jeff Ireland back in January. Ireland had an idea of what was going on, although it is uncertain as to the extent of his knowledge. Incognito — who has brought nothing but trouble to the table everywhere he has played and was suspended indefinitely in 2013 for conduct detrimental to the team — and Jerry are free agents while Pouncey’s place on the Dolphins’ offensive line seems secure for now, according to newly-hired GM Dennis Hickey.

Incognito has come unhinged, much of it publicly, since the report’s release. But I’m not going to taint Martin’s good news by going into specifics. One word: Google.

That said, I’m sure the NFL will discipline the trio of scumbags, but the punishment probably won’t fit their crimes enough to suit me. What they did simply cannot be undone. There’s no turning back the clock, and there sure aren’t enough heartfelt apologies in the entire universe that could be uttered to make it all better. They’ve forever changed the lives of three people — but I’m guessing a LOT more — and whatever the punishment, the victims never will get the justice that they deserve. I can rant about the unfairness, the injustice, the lack of humanity as I have in previous posts, but it won’t change what they did.

Why, you may ask? Why do I even care about what happened to Martin and the others? Why crusade for someone I don’t know? Why, for that matter, did I blast to smithereens those I don’t know for bullying? Why did I do it before knowing all the facts outlined in the report? And how did I know it was all true?

Because I’ve lived it. Because my son, my baby, has lived it. My 8-year-old son.

He was in first grade when it happened. First grade. And I wasn’t there to protect him. We always like to think — no, hope — our kids are safe when they’re at school, but as we all know, they’re not. And I had to try to explain why everyone isn’t a friend to a then-6-year-old who didn’t understand why everyone couldn’t be friends. Why, indeed, can’t we all be friends, or at the very least, just get along and tolerate one another?! It really isn’t that hard.

Two boys in his class he tried so hard to befriend punched him in the stomach, shoved him to the ground and twisted his arms behind his back for shits and giggles. No reason, no provocation, nothing. Just because they could. You know what the school called it? A mistake. An effing mistake. Can you believe that?! Both culprits had their recess privileges revoked for one week, but that was it. Their reactions? One of them cried, but only because he got caught. The other was completely indifferent.

And people wonder why I cannot stomach bullies, regardless of age. Even at 6, they’re old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. You can argue all you want, but it’s a battle you will not win against me. They knew what they did was wrong.

Those same two boys STILL are troubled, STILL are getting sent to the office for similar behavior and STILL have learned nothing because, hey, it’s all just a mistake.

Not in my book. Not by a long shot.

My son is in a different class this year — I made damn sure of that — and he is thriving in his new environment while his previous tormentors flounder in theirs.

Sure, bullies like them always will exist, as much as it turns my stomach. But so will people like me, who won’t let them get away with it, who will champion the victims, who will stand up and say ENOUGH.

I’m just relieved my son came to me right away and told me. Not all endings are as happy.

So here’s to Martin, as he rises like the mythical phoenix and begins anew. And here’s to my young boy for being brave enough to speak up.

Sometimes, the good guy does win. Sometimes, good things happen to good people. Sometimes, nice guys don’t finish last.


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