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A Dolphin Bullied: Jonathan Martin's NFL Experience in Miami (A)
Elias, Allison; Sesia, Aldo Case E-0477 / Published June 24, 2022 / 15 pages. Collection: Darden School of Business
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Product Overview

In 2013, Jonathan Martin, a starting lineman for the Miami Dolphins, left the team. He cited the negative effects of the team's culture—specifically, bullying and mistreatment by several of his teammates—on his well-being, saying it had contributed to depression and thoughts of self-harm. The news of Martin's departure exploded across media channels in the following days. At the behest of the Dolphins' ownership, the US National Football League (NFL) hired a law firm to investigate. On February 14, 2014, the law firm's findings (called the Wells Report) were released to the public, and they were damning. There was clear evidence of harassment targeting Martin as well as others on the Dolphins team. But while some within the NFL reacted to the findings with dismay, others said that playing football was "a man's job," and indicated that the behavior called bullying and harassment was simply part of the high-testosterone culture. This public-sourced case and its follow-up, "A Dolphin Bullied: Jonathan Martin’s NFL Experience in Miami (B)" (UVA-E-0481) use the context of the NFL to expand student understanding of gender binaries as shaped by racial and socioeconomic factors, and to discuss possible interventions to diminish turnover and promote inclusion. They promote a discussion of how underrepresented individuals navigate a work environment where they are not prototypical. This case also allows for a discussion of mental health as part of a broader focus on wellness at work.




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  • Overview

    In 2013, Jonathan Martin, a starting lineman for the Miami Dolphins, left the team. He cited the negative effects of the team's culture—specifically, bullying and mistreatment by several of his teammates—on his well-being, saying it had contributed to depression and thoughts of self-harm. The news of Martin's departure exploded across media channels in the following days. At the behest of the Dolphins' ownership, the US National Football League (NFL) hired a law firm to investigate. On February 14, 2014, the law firm's findings (called the Wells Report) were released to the public, and they were damning. There was clear evidence of harassment targeting Martin as well as others on the Dolphins team. But while some within the NFL reacted to the findings with dismay, others said that playing football was "a man's job," and indicated that the behavior called bullying and harassment was simply part of the high-testosterone culture. This public-sourced case and its follow-up, "A Dolphin Bullied: Jonathan Martin’s NFL Experience in Miami (B)" (UVA-E-0481) use the context of the NFL to expand student understanding of gender binaries as shaped by racial and socioeconomic factors, and to discuss possible interventions to diminish turnover and promote inclusion. They promote a discussion of how underrepresented individuals navigate a work environment where they are not prototypical. This case also allows for a discussion of mental health as part of a broader focus on wellness at work.

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