Jonathan Martin is 6-foot-5 and weighs better than 300 pounds.
He was a star football player in high school, college and eventually played in the NFL.
But despite his size and athletic ability, Martin claims his life was mired by being bullied -- first as a troubled teen where he was one of few minorities at his school, and later in the NFL, in an infamous incident that led to suspensions and, ultimately, Martin's arrest.
Martin, who battled depression as a teen, left the Miami Dolphins during the 2013 season amid accusations he was bullied by teammates. The ringleader was Richie Incognito, who was later suspended by the NFL.
The bullying was so severe, and troubled Martin so much, that he is now accused of criminally threatening Incognito and two former classmates at Harvard-Westlake high school with a disturbing Instagram post showing a 12-gauge shotgun resting on a motel bed with 19 shells scattered around it.
The image included a message that read, "When you're a bully victim & a coward, your options are suicide, or revenge."
On the front page of today's Commonwealth Journal, you will see two stories with the accusations of bullying at their core.
One ended with the tragic suicide of 14-year-old Meece Middle School student Silas Holliman. The other with a Pulaski County High student being arrested with a gun at school -- a weapon he claims he brought with him to defend himself against a bully.
The Commonwealth Journal today embarks on a multi-week series that will examine the problem of bullying, how it affects our children and what we can do to combat it. We plan to discuss the topic with local school officials, law enforcement officials, counselors, legal experts and, most importantly, our kids -- the young people this issue really effects.
These stories are not designed to ignite finger-pointing and set off a round of blame game. We are confident parents love their children and are involved -- although it's unfortunately not always the case. We know our local school officials want all of their students to have a pleasant experience and they work hard toward that goal -- although, with some children, they fall short.
The goal of this series is to try to find answers. Perhaps, as a community, we can make some adjustments and do a little better in making sure sure our kids aren't bullying others -- or a better job of protecting our kids from being bullied.
No one is safe from bullies. Look at the mammoth Martin -- even an athlete at the highest level can be a victim.
We have heard people say, "Bullying has always been a part of being a kid."
That attitude doesn't cut it. Children are suffering -- and, yes, dying. Suicides in teens (and even younger), and many of the more publicized school shootings, have bullying as an underlying cause.
Let's see what we can do to put an end to bullying. It's a lofty goal, but one we all should work toward.
THE COMMONWEALTH JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD consists of Michael McCleery, General Manager; Jeff Neal, Editor; Steve Cornelius, Sports Editor; Bill Mardis, Editor Emeritus; Mark Walker, Circulation Director; Mary Ann Flynn, Advertising; and JaKaye Garth, Classified Advertising Director.