Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug "Muscle Hamster" Martin, according to his ESPN profile, is listed at 5-foot-9 and 223 pounds. He's short, but muscular, meaning he resembles, in some way, a muscular hamster. His nickname, of course, happens to be "Muscle Hamster."
Since his breakout rookie year in 2012, Martin's been saddled with the moniker "Muscle Hamster," which is unfortunate for Martin, because he really, really doesn't like the nickname "Muscle Hamster."
Today, Martin told Bucs reporter Jenna Laine he doesn't like to be called "Muscle Hamster."
This was far from the first time.
November 9, 2012
The first recorded instance of Doug Martin publicly protesting "Muscle Hamster" appears to come from a USA Today profile from November of 2012, Martin's rookie year. That year, Martin rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns, by far the most prolific year of his career to date. In the midst of this surprising campaign, Martin sat down with Mike Garofolo, and gave him the full "Muscle Hamster" origin story from his time in college at Boise State.
"All right, so I had a girlfriend, she was a gymnast. Small, but more cut than I was," he says. "My friend (and college teammate) Jarell Root called her a muscle hamster. So I stood up for her, like, 'Hey, man, she's not a muscle hamster!' And he said, 'You're a muscle hamster, too.' So they called us the muscle hamsters."
Later, Martin and his girlfriend broke up, but he and the nickname did not, and Martin made it clear to Garofolo that he would very much like people to stop calling him "Muscle Hamster":
Martin has a wish of his own: To say goodbye to "Muscle Hamster".
"He legitimately doesn't like it," said Martin's agent, Brian Murphy.
Instead, Martin wished to be called "Dougernaut." His wish was not granted.
February 4, 2013
Martin did an interview with Steve Duemig of WDAE in Tampa Bay, and the two discussed Martin's appearance in the Pro Bowl, an impressive accomplishment for a rookie. Martin's quotes remained pretty blasé, for the most part—he says the Pro Bowl was "fun," but "at the end of the day it is what it is"—until the end of the interview, when they get on the subject of "Muscle Hamster:"
“Stop calling me Muscle Hamster. I’m just telling everybody right now: Stop calling me Muscle Hamster. Dougernaut, Dougernator, Muscle & Hustle, any of those are fine. But Muscle Hamster has to stop. Doug is fine, also. The Muscle Hamster has to stop. Stop it.”
Doug is fine, also
Doug is not happy! Doug also once again submits his request to be called "Dougernaut." You gotta do better than that, Doug.
June 18, 2015
It's a quiet couple years for the "Muscle Hamster." Injuries limit his productivity in 2013 and 2014, and the once high-profile muscular rodent football man fades into anonymity. But, in 2015, his contract is up, and so he's back in the public eye, giving interviews to USA Today once again, this time about his desire to prove his long-term worthiness to the organization. Also, about how he hates the nickname "Muscle Hamster."
"The name 'Muscle Hamster' is the worst nickname possibly ever given to somebody," Martin told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday, leaning into a reporter's recording device for effect. "I hope it changes, and I hope that I play to a level where my nickname changes. That's what my goals are."
August 26, 2015
Martin's had a resurgent preseason, looking healthy as ever, and perhaps ready to return to his 2012 form. After one particularly impressive run against the Bengals, the official NFL account felt compelled to send out the following tweet:
Miraculously, Martin let it slide. Oh, wait, no he didn't, he replied directly to the official NFL account on Twitter.
October 21, 2015 (today)
Martin's been playing well, rushing for more than 100 yards in his last two games. Does that mean people have stopped calling him "Muscle Hamster"?
It does not.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.