Observing Los Angeles

Jonathan Martin's Harvard-Westlake (and LA)

jonathan-martin-wolverines.jpgThe Miami Herald came to town to explore the prep-school roots of Jonathan Martin, the Miami Dolphins offensive lineman who recently left the team over intensive haranguing (and worse) by teammate Richie Incognito. Good story. Here's it is. . Grabs:

Everyone knew Jonathan Martin as “Moose” at Harvard-Westlake, an elite prep school for the children of Los Angeles’ corporate and entertainment executives that is perched among the pines of Coldwater Canyon. Martin, a 6-foot-5 football star, reflexively bent over to hug classmates upon greeting them. When he wasn’t flattening opponents with pancake blocks, he played the viola, which looked like a toy in his large hands.

“Jonathan was by far the biggest man on campus, but he was also a big puppy,” said Dave Levy, offensive coordinator for the football team. “Not a jokester, and a bar fight wouldn’t be his style. He was an achiever, as is each student here. He was a serious kid, but he always had a smile on his face and was a friend to all.”

Martin, who attended a private elementary school in Bel-Air and was raised in a neighborhood known as the “Black Beverly Hills” by Harvard-educated parents, grew up in a lush world of privilege and propriety. The Miami Dolphins locker room, where Martin said he was bullied, insulted and harassed during his first two seasons as a pro, must have seemed like an inferno.

Martin majored in classics at Stanford, and his bulk belied the poetry in his soul, but he should not have been ostracized just because he didn’t fit the NFL stereotype, his friends said.

“You can love literature and be a very tough football player,” said Andrew Phillips, a Stanford teammate. “You can be a smart athlete. That doesn’t have to be an oxymoron.”

Martin, 24, fled the Dolphins after a lunchroom prank sent him over the edge on Oct. 28 and returned home, where he has been receiving treatment for depression.

The pines of Coldwater Canyon? OK, technically there may be a few planted pine trees in yards. But it strikes me a little like saying "among the oaks of Palm Springs."

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