Jonathan Martin Attempted Suicide Before Leaving the NFL

Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin Attempted Suicide Before Leaving the NFL

Bullied ex-Dolphins lineman explains retirement via lengthy Facebook post.

Published August 27, 2015

Late last month, Jonathan Martin popped into news headlines for suddenly announcing his retirement from the NFL.

The 25-year-old former offensive lineman — who was best known as the victim of the 2013 Miami Dolphins bullying scandal — hadn't offered much of an explanation about why he was stepping away from the game at the time.

On Tuesday night, Martin posted a lengthy and riveting message on his Facebook account, admitting everything from struggles with racial identity — not being Black enough for African-Americans and having to tone down his Blackness for white kids — to depression and even multiple suicide attempts as reasons that he walked away from the game.

The most eye-catching part of Martin's post was where he admits to trying to end his life.

"Your job leads you to attempt to kill yourself on multiple occasions," Martin wrote. "Your self-perceived social inadequacy dominates your every waking moment & thought. You're petrified of going to work. You either sleep 12, 14, 16, hours a day when you can, or not at all. You drink too much, smoke weed constantly, have trouble focusing on doing your job, playing the sport that you grew up obsessed with."

An NFL-led investigation found that Dolphins linemen — Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey — harassed Martin and another offensive lineman.

Martin's two-year tenure with the Dolphins ended when they traded him to the San Francisco 49ers. He played the 2014 season with the Niners, before they waived him this past March and the Carolina Panthers signed him the next day. However, just four months later, Martin announced his retirement, citing a back injury that would have had him miss the entire 2015 season.

Martin referenced the injury in the lengthy post.

"You play another year and a half and get badly injured," he wrote. "You want to keep playing, but having broken free of the addiction that football had been, you know inside that risking permanent debilitating injury isn't worth it. So you retire."

Martin ended the post, explaining that he hopes his message inspires others.

"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 wrote. "And let them know that they aren't alone."

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(Photo: Jeff Siner/TNS/ZUMA Wire)

Written by Mark Lelinwalla


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