SEATTLE — The Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incognito has been in the headlines recently over allegations that he bullied rookie teammate Jonathan Martin.
Omar Kelly with the Sun Sentinel reported that Miami Dolphins coaches asked player Richie Incognito, who was the offensive line’s undisputed leader, to toughen up teammate Jonathan Martin after he missed a voluntary workout last spring, multiple sources said.
The sources told the paper they believe that Incognito, who is accused of using racially incendiary language and bullying tactics against Martin, may have taken those orders too far.
It’s not clear whether those marching orders will now become part of a pending investigation by the NFL into the Dolphins’ locker room culture, and the alleged bullying that took place between Incognito and Martin.
“I’m just trying to weather the storm right now. This will pass,” Incognito told WSVN-TV when reached outside a doctor’s office.
Incognito has been suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins for conduct detrimental to the team for his tactics involving Martin, the team’s 2012 second-round pick, who left the team last week and later accused the Dolphins of having an unsafe working environment.
In response to the situation, Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who is a former teammate of Martin’s at Stanford, made these statements Wednesday:
“To generalize the question: I guess that I would say that I’m extremely disappointed in the reaction that I think has been generated from this entire event. I’m not trying to say too much about it but I think that a lot of people might look at Jonathan Martin and think that he’s soft because he stepped away from the game – “why don’t you just fight him?” Well, let’s really look at it with common sense and being logical.
What options did Jonathan Martin have? He could either fight Richie Incognito. He could go and tell on him, which we know in football locker room doesn’t go over well. Or he could remove himself from the situation and let the proper channels take care of itself. I think he made the intelligent, smart choice without putting himself or Richie Incognito’s physical abilities in danger.
I know Jonathan Martin as a person, I know his character, I know he’s a great guy, a great friend of mine. He’s never been in trouble. So, I can only speak about him. So, for this situation to be as serious as it has become, it has to have been something serious that was going on.
I think there’s some reports that have come out that have said Jonathan Martin was soft or the way he handled the situation – he couldn’t take the verbal abuse or whatever it was. I don’t know the specifics of what happened. So I don’t want to speculate. But at the same time, we saw the voice mails, the text messages. And for anybody to say that “You can’t handle that – you’re soft because you can’t handle that” – that’s ridiculous to me, that’s disappointing that our society even has to question that. It’s pathetic to me, actually.
I’ve talked to him. I reached out to him to make sure he’s alright. I let a couple days go by before I said anything. I made sure he was alright and I made sure he knew that I was there for him if he needed anything.
What goes on in the locker room stays in the locker room. I’ve never come across any type of situation that was reminiscent of what has come out from this situation. There is part of initiation when you get to the NFL, whether it be paying for veterans’ lunch or whatever it may be – every once in awhile, that’s common in this workplace. So, I don’t think that was the case in Miami.”