Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Jonathan Martin, the former NFL player who was at the heart of a bullying scandal in 2013, shared a story of pain, depression and suicidal thoughts on his Twitter account Wednesday.
The post discusses his time as “one of just a handful of minorities in elite private schools,” and how he felt he had to “tone down [his] size & blackness by becoming shy, introverted, friendly.” Martin says he didn’t feel accepted by people of either race, and that it stripped him of his “self-confidence…self-worth… [and] sanity.”
Martin discusses overcompensation and his quest to feel “cool.”
On his time in the NFL, Martin says it was “a wake up call.” Referencing the situation in the locker room of the 2013 Miami Dolphins, he says most may have been able to brush if off, but that he is “different” and “more sensitive.”
Martin, 26, played football at Stanford University, and later in the NFL for the Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers before he chose to retire this summer. “Your job leads you to attempt to kill yourself on multiple occasions,” Martin writes. “Your self-perceived social inadequacy dominates your every waking moment & thought. You’re petrified of going to work…you drink too much, smoke weed constantly, have trouble focusing on doing your job, playing the sport that you grew up obsessed with.”
He speaks in hindsight, though, of the realization that he had to “leave the baggage behind.”
“You realize who truly has had your back. Who the people are who you need to embrace. And cherish every moment you have with them,” Martin wrote. “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.” Martin concludes, saying that he hopes his story lets kids like that “know that they aren’t alone.”
A report commissioned by the NFL and executed by attorney Ted Wells found in 2013 that Dolphins players, including offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey contributed to a “pattern of harassment” directed at Martin and other members of the team.
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