Former NFL lineman, Scottsdale resident Mandarich says hazing goes far beyond surface level

Arizona Sports News online

You’re always told to “pick on somebody your own size.”

Unless, of course, you’re former Glendale Mountain Ridge star and current Miami Dolphin Richie Incognito who was suspended indefinitely Sunday night by the organization for bullying teammate and fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin.

Monday various voicemails and text messages surfaced from Incognito to Martin which included profane language and even racial epithets.

“You can do rookie hazing and there’s stuff they made us do in Green Bay,” former NFL offensive lineman and Scottsdale resident Tony Mandarich told Brad Cesmat in a phone interview Monday on “…buying dinners and stuff like that…but this going a lot deeper. This is going to the next level.”

Mandarich, who battled drug and alcohol addiction during his playing days, said he would have never let it escalate to this level if it happened in the locker room.

Some have questioned whether Martin would have been best to handle the situation face-to-face with Incognito instead of through the Dolphins organization. Regardless, the story has sent shockwaves through the league and even crossed over into national newscasts where bullying continues to be a growing epidemic in our society.

“When people think of bullying they usually think of high school or younger but bullying happens in real life as adults,” Mandarich explained to Cesmat.

The former number two overall pick in the 1989 draft does caution to look a little deeper below the surface when it comes to circumstances like the Incognito-Martin hazing incident.

“So many different things are going on behind-the-scenes,” he said. “We’re going off the news that we’re getting. I know there’s a whole different story behind-the-scenes. Some of the stuff that’s written on the internet is true and I’ll bet you just as much is not true and not accurate.”

Incognito has had a history of run-ins with coaches and players ever since graduating from Mountain Ridge in 2000. He ran into off-the-field problems at Nebraska despite garnering all-conference honors in 2003. He eventually transferred to Oregon but never played in a single game and was kicked off the team for rules violations. He was drafted in the third-round by the St. Louis Rams in 2005.