Posted November 04, 2013

Dolphins suspend Richie Incognito as NFL investigates Jonathan Martin case

AFC East, Miami Dolphins
(David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Richie Incognito is being investigated for his role in the bullying of teammate Jonathan Martin. (David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

UPDATE (2:35 p.m. ET): ESPN is reporting that Richie Incognito used explicit language and racial slurs in voicemails to Jonathan Martin.

“Hey, wassup, you half n—– piece of s—,” a voicemail left for Martin by Incognito in April 2013 reportedly begins. “F— you, you’re still a rookie. I’ll kill you.”

ESPN cites sources who say this was not an isolated incident for Incognito, an impending free agent.

CBSSports’ Jason La Canfora reported earlier Monday that Martin also has made available to the Dolphins and the NFL several texts allegedly sent to him by Incognito that include racial slurs as well as threats to both Incognito and his family. “There are several instances of threats as well,” La Canfora reports, “and overall disturbing exchanges, including one in which Incognito refers to defecating in Martin’s mouth.”

SI senior writer Jim Trotter spoke with several players and front office members who expressed displeasure with Martin’s decision to turn the texts and voicemails over to the NFL and Dolphins.


The Miami Dolphins have suspended offensive lineman Richie Incognito indefinitely, as an investigation into the developing Jonathan Martin situation unfolds. NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington was the first to report the news Sunday night.

“We believe in maintaining a culture of respect for one another and as a result we believe this decision [to suspend Incognito] is in the best interest of the organization at this time,” the Dolphins said in a release. “As we noted earlier, we reached out to the NFL to conduct an objective and thorough review. We will continue to work with the league on this matter.”

Martin walked out on the Dolphins Monday, reportedly because he had been subjected to substantial ridicule from some of his teammates. Incognito was placed at the heart of those incidents, on multiple occasions by ESPN. He took to Twitter on Sunday morning to demand his name be “cleared,” after the Dolphins released a statement saying that “the notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern.”

Incognito’s series of tweets included one that implored ESPN’s Adam Schefter to “stop slandering my name.”

However, an additional report from Schefter and his colleague Chris Mortensen read that “Martin has not filed a formal complaint because he fears retribution, primarily from Incognito.” Then, on Fox Sports Live Sunday night, NFL insider Mike Garafolo said that (per Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller), “Multiple sources told me Martin’s camp informed Dolphins and NFLPA that Incognito sent threatening and racially charged texts”

Only a few hours after their initial comments, the Dolphins released a second statement, which stated: “We received notification today from Jonathan’s representation about allegations of player misconduct. We are taking these allegations very seriously and plan to review the matter further. We have also reached out to the NFL and asked them to conduct an objective and thorough review. As an organization, we are committed to a culture of team-first accountability and respect for one another.”

And at least in the immediate future, that is bad news for Incognito. There’s no telling how long the NFL and its players’ association may need to pick through the details of Martin’s case, nor what sort of punishment may await Incognito if he’s deemed to be the one to blame for Martin’s sudden breakdown.

Martin may soon be placed on the reserve/non-football illness list; Darlington reported earlier this week that Martin sought out “mental counseling” after leaving Miami’s facilities.

The NFL also faces the task of determining if Martin’s troubles are part of a larger problem, both in the Miami locker room and league-wide. The Miami Herald‘s Adam Beasley reported that “Dolphins veterans [are] using younger players as ATMs,” with rookies allegedly handed a $30K tab at a team dinner and Martin coughing up $15,000 to Incognito to help fund a trip taken by several players.

A 2012 draft pick, Martin had started every game of his Miami career up until last Thursday’s win over Cincinnati.

448 comments
NicholasMew
NicholasMew

Hey, why didn't Martin just snap from the pressure, then 'man up' by bringing a gun to the facility, as has been done in an NBA locker room.  That would have handled it man to man, right?  Good enough for you?  Or is bringing light to a serious problem by making it public a better idea than fighting?  Use your words, brave anonymous personnel.

JoeKamala
JoeKamala

"Interesting that of the half dozen personnel people/players i've spoken with, all feel martin should've handled this man to man."

 What is interesting is that all these "personnel/players" think Martin wasn't a man because he didn't do it face to face and was a coward. Yet, all these  personnel/players are hiding behind Trotter's tweets and/or not "manning up" by attaching their name to their "Be a Man" opinions.

IndependentsDay
IndependentsDay

There is a distinct difference between taping a player to the goalpost, shaving their hair etc. and threatening to kill them or their mother relentlessly and then using racial slurs.  No call for it.  I don't agree with the way Martin handled it, but no excuse for what Incognito was doing.  That type of behavior is not permitted in any workplace, why should the NFL be different?  

hrey27
hrey27

And people wonder why some teams never win championships? Please spare me the nonsense of what some team won 40 years ago.  As an organization, you create the culture.  The owner brings in famous people as "part owners' when, in reality, it's a dog and pony show.  The GM asks a potential player if his mother was a prostitute and now, this.  Every organization has its moments of stupidity and bad character guys.  However, when you ignore the problem and let it permeate, this is what is becomes.  Seriously, you have veterans on this team forcing the young guys to finance their nightlife.  Really? And you expect Martin to have someone help him? To have a veteran intercede? Not in your wildest dreams.

As for Martin, he's not wired to respond like a barbarian.  For someone with his upbringing and intelligence, his response is not violence.  Whereas Incognito, who himself was bullied as a child, his reaction is to become what he hated: a revenge seeking bully with misplaced anger issues.

DavidHarte
DavidHarte

Are you serious, Trotter?  Fake little tough guy.


Martin needs a team in the 21st century….

6marK6
6marK6

I think if someone was to conduct an extensive background check on one Richie Incognito, you would find more than a few felonious activities in his past. This is your classic bully/predator. If he did not have a legal outlet for his natural tendencies (the NFL), he would be attacking someone in a prison shower right now. 

KevinB2014
KevinB2014

Football players need to be able to do one thing well: play football. That's all they're hired to do, and the only thing that the team needs them to do. To expect that every player is mentally "tough," is able to negotiate the complex psychology of the veterans-gang-up-on-the-rookie hazing mind game, and to know when and how to "stand up for himself like a man" is ridiculous. If I were an NFL owner I'd be happy to have a flaming interior decorator cross-dresser milquetoast crybaby pacifist on my O-line if he had the football skills to be a perennial Pro Bowler and could avoid being a distraction to the team--as long as a teammate wasn't the one creating the distraction through taunting, humiliation, and harassment. Otherwise the harasser would be the problem, not the harassed.

And I'd ensure that every player and coach on my team saw it the same way, not because of some political correctness BS but because I'd want to WIN! And the way to win is to have everyone 100% focused on the game, the one on the field, not the one inside sick brains.

I'm not surprised that many players and coaches think that Martin should have toughed it out, stood up for himself, and went mano-a-mano with Incognito and whoever else was involved. But they're assuming Martin is just like them. I'm sure there's a high correlation between aggressive, testosterone-charged personality types and a high level of performance on the field, but not everyone is wired the same, nor do they need to be. If a guy wants/has to channel all of his aggressiveness into his on the field performance and not in defending himself from excessive, pathological hazing, then that's the way the guy's wired. Some people thrive on confrontation; some don't.

It's the team's ownership, management, and coaching staff that need to ensure that good team values are understood and practiced. For example, this kind of crap wouldn't have happened in Indianapolis. They've had coaches for over the past decade--Dungy, Caldwell, and Pagano--who are men of high character and who wouldn't have tolerated this stuff. And the players know what kind of rookie hazing is acceptable and positive and what goes over the line. Carrying equipment, having to sing in the locker room, buying a reasonably priced dinner, picking up the dry cleaning, that kind of stuff doesn't break down a rookie's spirit; it lets them know they're paying their (reasonable) dues to become a part of the team. They see it's not over the line, all done in good fun, and they know that for the rest of their career they'll be able to dish that stuff out themselves. But when it gets to the point...well before the point...where it went with Incognito, where you're constantly insulting the man, threatening him, and even escalating it when you can see you've succeeded in injuring the rookie, there are a lot more things amiss than just one degenerate player; it's a toxic team culture that should never have been allowed to get to this.

Mathonwy
Mathonwy

Apparently the Miami locker room has more than its share of CTE. In Incognito's case, I doubt if a medical examiner would find anything else.

ThomO'Barsky
ThomO'Barsky

We see who the REAL COWARDS are...remaining anonymous and shooting off their mouths about "being a man."  Let's see you step in front of a camera and say that "harassment is fine, until you stand up for yourself."  The so called "real men" should step up and show yourself and stop being a hypocrite. You are the real cowards.

GhettoSamurai
GhettoSamurai

Really Jim Trotter?  Of the vast half dozen players you talked to they think he should have handled this man to man?

Wow, you talked to SOOOOOO many.  Regardless though, this isn't some problem where the only valid opinions are from players and coaches in the NFL.

Eff Incognito and his apologists like Trotter.

DarrenZancan
DarrenZancan

Sorry Jim Trotter, and those people who think he should have handled it "like a man." He did handle it like a man. If he felt like this was the best way to handle it, then he handled it the right way.

mystafugee
mystafugee

This isn't bullying, this is harassment, the guy's threatening your family and making racial slurs. 

MarkCalasade
MarkCalasade

Incognito is a pig, but Martin should have stood up for himself. At some point everyone must. That's the way the world works in all walks of life.

decredico
decredico

and now trotter joins the the idiot brigade with this pseudo-machismo fooloshness 

MrArlington
MrArlington

Incognito could go play in traffic and no one would stop him. From what I've read everyone and their brother says he is a fu​cktard and have no respect for him.

Cougarblue
Cougarblue

Names Trotter names! Don't hide the idiots!

dgruginski
dgruginski

If that is the reaction from the front office personnel then maybe the NFL needs to be hit in the pocketbook with this one.  This isn't annoying hazing.  These are serious threats and have nothing to do with football.  It is one thing to have to carry a vets pads or pay for a reasonable meal(not in the thousands).  Extortion and physical threats of violence.  That's criminal and it doesn't have to be in the workplace.  Strangely, I feel a little sorry for Icognito because he just doesn't get it and it is going to at least cost him his career and if he can't control himself then it will eventually lead to prison or death or both.

NegotiatorCM
NegotiatorCM

The Dolphins and other front office executives believing this should be handled man-to-man again shows the culture of sports, especially football. 

No one noticed the bullying until Martin left the team? I find that difficult to believe. Some of it was private but reports say some was out in the open. No one stood up for what is right in the way others are being treated? 

If the culture allowed this sort of dehumanizing and illegal behavior, then it should be exposed. I don't believe Martin's first, second or third intentions were to speak to the media. The story drew the media like flies. This coming to public knowledge is dangerous legally to the Dolphins. That never would have happened if the players, coaches, executives or anyone witnessing the behavior would have been assertive in stopping it. 

Richie Incognito will lose his career and likely take legal action, which he will most certainly lose if what is reported is true. His reputation and his family name are in bad shape.

JimWisdom
JimWisdom

I don't get the reactions of certain persons quoted here. This isn't hazing; this is extortion and harassment. And did anyone think that his language was over the top? Is the memory of Riley Cooper and his incident with the Eagles, who 'only' uttered a racial slur at a concert and not at a player and certainly not his teammates, that short-lived? Face him 'like a man'? What do they want, for Martin to come to work with a shot gun? After all, isn't that how one might defend their self in the face violence? Especially seeing that this is Florida! The irony is that the one upset also has the last name of 'Martin'.

Norman5
Norman5

These are people that are quoting anonymously to newspapers saying that you should step up and be a man.  Pot meet kettle

GeoffreyHolland
GeoffreyHolland

I just think it's funny that a guy named 'Incognito' is anything but.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

Jim Trotter, apologist.

Hey, Jim -- you know bullies usually have a gang behind them, right?  Life isn't like the movies.  Standing up to the bully "man to man" doesn't mean squat, usually -- especially if he's big, mean, and has people behind him.  Standing up means he'll get really mad, and come back at you with the rest of his gang -- to wipe you out. 

This sounds like two things:  gang activity in the locker room and denial by those who could have done something, but didn't.

Rudolph
Rudolph

If someone bullies me, why would I care about "handling it like a man"?  I'll squeal, snitch, shoot, and stab until I get all I can from anyone and everyone I can blame.  I'm rich beeyatch!

pmp
pmp


The best thing Martin did was leave the organization. Listening to the Dolphins coach press conference showed me all I needed to know about the Miami Dolphins organization. I guess being a racists punk is a gray area in the NFL.

LouisGudema
LouisGudema

Incognito, and the Dophins, may have legal problems here that go beyond the NFL. This sounds like blatant workplace racial harassment, plus threats of violence.

somm24
somm24

 Wow  an italian using racist

 language and  being a meathead  bully?  Shocking!!!

Hey Richie spot open for you on Jersey Shore....

Fleeb
Fleeb

I've read a number of posts here that seem to agree with Trotter's's rather ugly quotes, saying why did he not fight back. The problem is that a victim of bullying often does not have the self confidence or ability to fight back. I was bullied by 3 older brothers and many of their friends, and my victim behavior continued into my 20's, despite my growing up into a strong healthy 6'2" 200 lb man. I was told my whole life I was a wimp, a loser. So that is what I was.

It took a violent mugging (where I was compelled to fight for my life,) to break the pattern. I was in the hospital afterward, but my attacker was there too, for much longer, en route to his guilty plea.

My point is that it took that much pressure to break the mold, and convince me that I didn't have to be pushed around any more, that I didn't have to just take it. But it was hard then and it is still hard now, 30 years later. I still deal with sarcasm and teasing very poorly. The difference is I used to just duck into my shell. Now I over-react and respond with far more anger than it deserves. At least I feel better afterwards.

When you are subjected to endemic bulling, it diminishes you every day in every way. You don't go to Mom, you don't go to authorities, you don't defend yourself, because you feel you are not worthy. And it can seem impossible to take a stand.

Kudos to Martin for saying enough is enough. And to anyone who says he should have stood up for himself, well, he just did. 

Let me rephrase that. To anyone who says he should have stood up for himself, STFU. Go crawl back in your hole and pull it in after you. You are the heart of the problem.


MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@ElvisHitler  

Projecting your bigotry irrelevantly onto a thug may make you feel good. Your ridiculous nickname and avatar say all that anyone needs to know about you.

BY
BY

@MarkCalasade I totally agree with you. Martin is not a 98 pound weakling, he is an NFL lineman.

KristianColasacco
KristianColasacco

@MarkCalasade ^^That and when people are threating your family and saying that they're going to kill you, you don't need to go in there with your fists flying.  This guy's not sane.  What if Martin kicked his a55?  That might make things even worse.  Martin handled this correctly.

mystafugee
mystafugee

@MarkCalasade Seeing how Cognito was the all-pro veteran, if Martin slugged him in the face, I could easily see the Dolphins cutting him loose and claiming  he was the bad character. 

UtahPete
UtahPete

I bet you would crap in your pants and move to Europe if Incognito wanted to beat you up. You are just another loud mouth internet tough guy wearing a dress.

Cougarblue
Cougarblue

Kind of makes you feel real warm and cozy towards the Sopranos existing in real life by comparison.

nfinitwordsfoto
nfinitwordsfoto

@MidwestGolfFan You gotta read the article dude.  Trotter wasn't saying this stuff, he was quoting people who talk tough but do it anonymously.  

Mathonwy
Mathonwy

@LouisGudema Bingo! This quick action by the Dolphins after several years of inaction by team coaches speaks to the influence of both the league office and team ownership who are smart enough to recognize the multimillion dollar judgements they face by allowing such behavior. They're already trying to play to the judge, and Martin isn't a dummy like the rest of those neanderthals. He'll be coming at them soon but in court. How's THAT for handling it like a man?

busdriver37
busdriver37

@LouisGudema And what the media is occasionally quietly saying (in a couple isolated stories) is that some of the messages were also re: sexual orientation. I have no idea if Martin is homosexual or not, but that would add a whole other dimension to the harassment. Incognito is a punk.

inthepresent
inthepresent

@Fleeb well done, man.  well done. many said it. few said it as eloquently.

crashtx1
crashtx1

@Fleeb Martin is an educated man from a stable home. What was his best option in dealing with someone with roid rage? He could have busted him up, maybe broken some bones, or hey, maybe killed him, but all that would have gotten him is a messed up life. He made the right choice. He'll play again, and end up with more money.

Kyle Spillman
Kyle Spillman

@Fleeb i have a lot of the same feelings you do man, i think a lot of it is from low self esteem and feeling inferior to others without even thinking about it

Cougarblue
Cougarblue

Great comeback, are you also using the "your mother wears combat boats" anytime someone correctly calls you a mental defective? We will all be grateful if you choose to never share your very small intellect again. Can you really afford to share such a small, delicate, and rare item?

Cougarblue
Cougarblue

Your lacking in enough understanding to know that when you throw racism back at a racist it's simply for the effect of the sarcasm. Not hardly the same issue of hypocracy