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PopWrapped | Current Events

Harassment of Miami Dolphins' Jonathan Martin Confirmed by Independent Report

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PopWrapped

Updated 02/15/2014 4:29pm
Harassment of Miami Dolphins' Jonathan Martin Confirmed by Independent Report
Media Courtesy of Joel Auerbach

Robert Dominic Ventre II

Staff Writer

In an extensive report provided by independent counsel Ted Wells, the reported abuse of Jonathan Martin by Miami Dolphins teammates Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry has been verified. Per his report, Wells wrote, “In short, the treatment of Martin and others in the Miami Dolphins organization at times was offensive and unacceptable in any environment, including the world professional football players inhabit,”  Wells was hand-picked by the NFL to investigate claims of Martin's harassment, leading Wells to observe the torture he endured at the hands of men that were, unfortunately, a consistent part of his career, “A young football player who has the skills to play at the highest level, and who also happens to be quiet and reserved, should have the opportunity to pursue a career in the NFL without being subjected to harassment from his teammates.” The report contains many shocking details: • Three other past or current Dolphins players were also subjected to ridicule, as was an assistant athletic trainer, who was mocked because of his Japanese heritage. • Incognito took off his shirt, pinned Martin down and punched him repeatedly at Pouncey’s Christmas party in late 2012. • Dolphins offensive line coach Jim Turner not only knew about certain intrasquad hijinks but also was an active participant. He even bought Andrew McDonald, a former Dolphins player now with the Carolina Panthers, a male blow-up doll for Christmas in 2012 — a jab at McDonald’s sexual orientation. (McDonald, by all accounts, is heterosexual.) • The offensive line had a fine system for behavior not considered appropriate for the group. After Martin left the team, Incognito “fined” him $1 million for being a “p-----.” When the Wells investigation first began, he asked his teammates to destroy the book, but they did not. • Martin’s mother and sister were the subject of vile, over-the-top insults, with members of the offensive line regularly joking about having sexual relations with them in the most demeaning and explicit terms. • Dolphins trainer Kevin O’Neill laughed along at some of these off-color jokes but also at one point pulled Martin aside and told him to stand up for himself. • O’Neill and Turner never acted further on Martin’s behalf (i.e., taking the matter to coach Joe Philbin), allowing the behavior to continue. • Incognito was apparently very comfortable using racial slurs. When he wasn’t using the N-word, he would speak in thinly veiled code. In a text conversation with an unnamed player, he joked that a .308 battle rifle was “perfect for shooting black people.” With his departure from the Dolphins in November, Martin revealed the circumstances of his teammates' bullying, leading Richie Incognito to be suspended for his conduct, deemed detrimental for the team's integrity. Wells met with coaches, players, office personnel and confirmed that Incognito and his cohorts' harassment did not stop at Martin, with other members of the Dolphins' staff having to suffer through their abuses. “The Report concludes that three starters on the Dolphins offensive line, Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at not only Jonathan Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman and an assistant trainer. The Report finds that the assistant trainer repeatedly was the object of racial slurs and other racially derogatory language; that the other offensive lineman was subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching; and that Martin was taunted on a persistent basis with sexually explicit remarks about his sister and his mother and at times ridiculed with racial insults and other offensive comments.” Incognito and other offensive lineman have rebuffed the claims, exaggerating their level of involvement, with Incognito accusing of Martin over Twitter: “Dear Jon Martin..... The truth is going to bury you and your entire "camp". You could have told the truth the entire time.” Dolphins' owner Stephen Ross had this to say in regards to the report: “I now have had a chance to read the report and obviously, the language that was used and the behavior as described is deeply disturbing. Although the report commended Joe Philbin’s commitment to promoting integrity and accountability throughout the Dolphins organization, I told Ted Wells personally during my visit with him that we are committed to addressing the issues outlined in this report. We must work together towards a culture of civility and mutual respect for one another. It is important to me, important to Coach Philbin and important to the entire Dolphins organization." The report will be reviewed in detail before any firm decisions are made, per Ross' later statement.  

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