Anonymously calling someone a coward is the height of self-parody and the pit of self-awareness. Each of these [NFL] personnel men feel perfectly comfortable attacking the mental strength of Jonathan Martin. Not a single one of them is willing to put their name on it. That is because none of them wants to deal with the pain of embarrassing themselves, their organization and the league, nor the pain that might attend their careers.

Calling for others to endure pain in one breath, while you duck it in the next is a particularly loathsome form of cowardice. The men who call on Martin to fight Incognito in the locker-room, are also the same men who would ruthlessly cut Martin or Incognito should either be injured in any way that jeopardizes the team’s plans. Perhaps one of these braggarts actually would “go down swinging.” But “down” does not have the same meaning for a general manager as it does for a left tackle. Jeff Ireland can report to work with a broken arm. Jonathan Martin not so much.

The point here is power. As demonstrated by Trotter’s column, Martin has risked his career and millions of dollars by exposing Incognito. There’s a solid argument that Martin’s actions were “brave.” It just isn’t the kind of “brave” immediately empowers the NFL. On the contrary, it’s the kind that threatens it.