Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Incognito-Martin situation still unfolding by hour


An allegedly abusive relationship between two teammates has put the Miami Dolphins under the national microscope, and they may not come out any time soon.

The ongoing saga of harassment allegations levied by Jonathan Martin against fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito has transcended the NFL news cycle and become a national story about bullying, boundaries and locker room culture.

Both players have left the team, Martin on a leave of absence and Incognito on indefinite suspension. Almost hourly, new details emerge about the depth of the alleged abuse.

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin claimed in a Tuesday media session that he was unaware of any excessive hazing prior to this past Sunday, and deferred any further details to the findings of a comprehensive league review of the team's working conditions that was requested by team owner Stephen Ross.

Monday, the Miami Herald reported that Incognito has likely played his last down in Miami, with a source saying that "from a club perspective he'll never play another game here."

Details of an inflammatory voicemail left to Martin by Incognito were reported by ESPN earlier in the week, with the message allegedly including racial epithets and threats to both Martin and his family. Martin turned over the voicemail to team and league officials on Sunday.

A number of current Dolphins players spoke highly of Incognito's qualities as a teammate in the immediate wake of his suspension, and a chorus of current and former NFLers questioned Martin's role in the fallout. "To me there's no room to play the victim or to be bullied or to even have that discussion when it comes to the NFL," former Dolphins running back Ricky Williams told

Late Tuesday, a report by the Sun Sentinel said that the Dolphins coaching staff asked Incognito to 'toughen up' Martin after the latter skipped a voluntary workout this past March. Little is known about the exact nature of that request, but it appears relevant to the coaches' level of knowledge of the players' relationship.

In his first comments since his suspension, Incognito told WSVN-TV in Florida that he's "just trying to weather the storm right now. This will pass."

There's no indication that this ordeal is close to ending for Martin, Incognito or the Dolphins. Meanwhile, actual football resumes next Monday night when they travel cross-state to meet their fellow franchise-in-turmoil, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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