Miami Dolphins rookie Jonathan Martin supports Condi Rice at Augusta National

Sun Sentinel

When former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was admitted Monday as one of the first two female members of Augusta National Golf Club, the news resonated inside the Miami Dolphins locker room.

Reserve cornerback Nolan Carroll was pleased to hear the news as his mother, Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, has met Rice on a number of occasions, dating to the second Bush administration.

Then there was rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin, who saw Rice often during his days on the Stanford campus, where Rice teaches a graduate course in political economy.

"Ms. Rice is one of the most accomplished women I’ve ever met, obviously being a high-ranked member of the President’s cabinet," Martin said. "She was awesome. She’s a great supporter of Stanford football, came to a lot of games, was an honorary captain several times. I’m a huge fan of hers."

While Martin never got a chance to play golf with the groundbreaking stateswoman, he has been around her enough to know how much she loves football. Remember, before Roger Goodell put a stranglehold on the position, there was some talk out there about Rice as a potential candidate for NFL Commissioner.

"She's very passionate [about football]," Martin said. "She knows about O-line play, which not a lot of people do."

Martin said it wasn't uncommon for the Stanford football team to cross paths with Rice on their way into the school's weight room, usually before the sun had even come up.

"She is in our weight room at 5 a.m., getting a workout in," Martin said. "We’re just coming in, she’s leaving. She’s kind of an inspiration to us."

As for the larger meaning of Rice, along with South Carolina financier Darla Moore, breaking down the mysterious wall of membership at Augusta National, Martin was enthusiastic about the historic announcement.

"I think it’s great," he said. "She's a huge fan of sports. I really can’t think of a better person to break that barrier."

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