Jeff Chiu/APGiants left-hander Madison Bumgarner is a big reason the Giants have the best record in baseball.

Jeff Chiu/APGiants left-hander Madison Bumgarner is a big reason the Giants have the best record in baseball.

49ers would be ideal fit for Jonathan Martin or Michael Sam

The ugliness behind the public relations façade of the NFL has been exposed in an investigation into the locker room hazing by the Miami Dolphins and anonymous homophobic comments about Michael Sam, and the 49ers may ultimately benefit from this mess.

A report by NFL investigator Ted Wells on the Dolphins locker room was a firebomb last week with specific examples of how Richie Incognito and at least two other players and an assistant coach consistently harassed Jonathan Martin and at least two other players. The players not only harassed Martin, but made many lewd remarks about his sister and what they intended to do to her, though they did not follow through on their threats.

Is it any wonder that the Dolphins went nowhere last season with a locker room atmosphere like that?

Martin left the team, but is still under contract to the Dolphins, entering the third year of a four-year contract. It’s very difficult to envision a way he can return to that team, even if the chief offenders are suspended for at least a season, which seems likely.

He still wants to play in the NFL, though, and he has the skills to do it. The 49ers could use an offensive lineman with his versatility and, of course, his college coach at Stanford was Jim Harbaugh, who would never allow the kind of taunting that was going on in Miami. Under Harbaugh, the 49ers have had a cohesive locker room, as is true of all winning teams. Football is the ultimate team game and teams with a locker room like the Dolphins are always going to be losers.

It would not be surprising to see the 49ers trading a late-round draft pick to get the versatile Martin. Harbaugh has always liked linemen who could do a good job at either guard or tackle, when a starter was hurt. Martin would seem to be a good fit for that role.

They do not seem to have the same kind of immediate need for Sam, who would probably be a hybrid defensive end-outside linebacker in the NFL. Aldon Smith fits that role perfectly for the Niners now, but Smith’s future is uncertain because of his legal problems.

It might be a good idea to pick up Sam as insurance, in case Smith’s problems short circuit his career.

Sam would probably be a bargain because many NFL clubs still have homophobic front-office people. How do you identify them? When you see an anonymous remark from a team executive about a gay player upsetting the balance of the locker room, you can be certain that comes from a homophobic man. But of course, these guys aren’t actually part of the locker room culture. Harbaugh, who sets the tone for the locker room, is concerned only about a player’s ability.

When Chris Culliver made a homophobic remark during Super Bowl week in 2013, he quickly apologized. It was easy to see Harbaugh’s hand in that.

Both Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke have only one goal: to win. So if Martin or Sam, or both, become available, they could be 49ers.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. Email him at glenndickey36@gmail.com.Glenn DickeyJonathan MartinMichael SamSan Francisco 49ers

Just Posted

A woman carries an umbrella while walking along Market Street as a light rain falls on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
The storm door is open in San Francisco: What will the rains bring?

‘Come Monday, fire season in Northern California should be done’

FILE — In-N-Out Burger, the popular California fast-food chain, is resisting San Francisco's public health rules that require indoor diners to show proof of vaccination. (J. Emilio Flores/The New York Times)
When it comes to San Francisco vaccine rules, In-N-Out should heed Biblical advice

Burger chain’s vaccine fight distracts from its tasty burgers and French fries controversy

The Walgreens at 4645 Mission St. in The City is among those slated to close. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Walgreens says it’s closing five SF stores due to crime. Where’s the data?

Walgreens should be transparent, enlighten city leaders about crime’s effect on business

Lake Hennessey, a reservoir for Napa, looked dry in June. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday issued a proclamation extending the drought emergency statewide and asked residents to redouble water conservation efforts. (Mike Kai Chen/New York Times)
Newsom declares drought emergency across California

State closed out its second-driest water year on record

While some pedestrians enjoy walking on the car-free Great Highway, others, who drive to work, want the road reopened full-time to vehicles. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Converting the Great Highway into a Great Walkway makes no sense

It’s helpful to take a detailed look at the environmental and transit effects

Most Read