If you haven't heard the story surrounding Dolphins offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin and the accusations of bullying, then you have been living under a rock. Regardless, it's an ugly story that is starting to shine some light on one of the dark secrets that dwells in an NFL locker room. The situation in Miami came up when the Bengals came to town for the Halloween Thursday Night Matchup and there hasn't been a resolution since.
With all of the media attention that that story has received, there has been a former NFL player that has recently spoken up about a similar thing happening to him. Offensive lineman Shawn Andrews played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2004-2008 and was a three-time Pro Bowler as well as a two-time All-Pro. He is also the older brother of former Bengals offensive lineman, Stacy Andrews.
In 2008, at the height of his NFL career, Andrews abruptly left the team and went AWOL. It was later publicized that Andrews had "personal issues" and was battling depression. Recently, Andrews took to the media and claimed that these issues stemmed from some malicious behavior from teammates, led by former Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb.
"It just felt like I was in a living hell. (McNabb) was a big part of it — he was a big part of my issues there. Bully is a strong word, but he was degrading to me and spread rumors. It’s bothered me that I haven’t really spoken about it."
Andrews held out of 2008 training camp for 17 days, while his agent found him a psychiatrist who started treating him for depression. When he reported, he spoke in front of the team to explain his absence, and during it, he said, "(McNabb) was rolling his eyes at me the whole time."
The questioning of Andrews’ sexuality—he said he did not know the reason he was targeted—got bad enough that he began waiting until all his teammates were out of the shower before entering it, or showering while facing a wall or corner to avoid suspicion.
Andrews also recalled an instance where he thought about suicide by almost intentionally flipping his car. McNabb has vehemently denied the claims and has received backing opinions from Brian Westbrook and Jeff Garcia (per The Philadelphia Inquirer). He fired back calling the claims "ridiculous", and praised Andrews for being "one of the most talented linemen" that he had ever played with.
It's tough to know who to believe here, and will likely surface, but the issue of bullying is quickly making its way to the forefront of NFL concerns. There is likely to be some addressing of this in the offseason with the owners meetings.