Every workplace has informal rules, one of them being that what goes on at work stays at work. The Dolphins, who employed both these men, never gave either one of them proper supervision.
Incognito, who has a long history as a bully, obviously thought he had carte blanche to "toughen up" Martin, whose years at Stanford never prepared him for what came his way.
Martin, whose Stanford degree is in classics, also didn't need the aggravation. He has career options, including possibly law school, of which Incognito could never dream.
As I said, I've been harassed at times by co-workers. I had an editor who insisted on completely rewriting my copy and grew angry with me when what came out was worse than what went in. I had bosses who once left me at a trade show booth, alone and without any collateral to hand out, along with two editorial deadlines each day.
I also know what I did in the face of this. I begged the editor to keep me around. I stayed at my job. I did what Martin did because I love writing almost as much as he loves football, and I couldn't see it turning against me like that.
The only answer, as I said, is communication. The NFL and its players need to codify, in writing, what until now has been unwritten. They need to get both these men the help they need to go forward in their lives, both now and beyond football.
They also need to send this message out to everyone: Bullying is wrong, and anyone can be bullied. Especially in the workplace, where young workers want to succeed and are looking to everyone around them for leadership and guidance.
This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.