Jonathan Martin sat down with Tony Dungy of NBC Sports in a one-on-one interview that is fittingly being released days before the Super Bowl. In an excerpt that aired on NBC Nightly News on Tuesday, Martin said that he felt trapped and needed a way out. In an excerpt that aired this morning on NBC Today, Martin revealed several things.
He said that there were many comments made towards his mother and sister that were sexual in nature. Although he realizes that offensive linemen are like a brotherhood, he couldn’t put up with it anymore. Despite his repeated attempts to befriend Richie Incognito, the hazing continued after his rookie year. Martin said he spoke to numerous other players around the league to see if this was normal. They told him no, which was when it started to get to a boiling point for him.
Martin also said that it wasn’t just Incognito who was behind all of this – it was many other players but Incognito was the ringleader. He mentioned that other players on the team were hazed and harassed as well – some worse than him.
After Martin’s first year in the NFL, he said he told his coaches (presumably OL coach Jim Turner) and others in the organization about the problems he was facing. The biggest news of the morning came when Martin said he never talked to head coach Joe Philbin about the situation.
Martin said he has been working out and staying in shape and would be ready to play this Sunday in the Super Bowl if he had to. Although he claims he hasn’t talked to any players from the Dolphins since he left, he says he wants another chance in the NFL but knows it won’t be the Dolphins. Martin said he understands that opportunities are rare in the NFL and he has to take advantage of whatever one come next.
Dungy, who spoke after the interview, said he talked to three different general managers and they all agreed he was a good player but they would be afraid to sign him because of the scrutiny that will come with the situation. Dungy said that Martin would need to find the right locker room with the proper culture so he won’t have any issues again.
Dungy also listened to the voicemails that were left for Martin and agreed they were very racial and derogatory in nature. He says that he could never imagine this type of stuff happening in his locker room.
Martin, who is only 24 years old, was drafted by the Dolphins in 2012 and played right tackle before being moved to left tackle when Jake Long left via free agency. He abruptly left the team on October 28. After a week of silence, he spoke and alleged that he was harassed by teammates, but more specifically, Richie Incognito. One of the main accusations was the he left a voicemail to Martin with racial slurs and expletives.
Incognito was suspended shortly after Martin broke his silence. He has not played since November 3 and is part of the NFL probe, which is led by Ted Wells. The report on this is expected to be released after the Super Bowl.
Martin’s lawyer, David Cornwell, has said that his client “endured harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing. For the entire season-and-a-half that he was with the Dolphins, he attempted to befriend the same teammates who subjected him to the abuse with the hope that doing so would end the harassment. This is a textbook reaction of victims of bullying,” Cornwell said in a statement in November.
“Despite these efforts, the taunting continued. Beyond the well-publicized voice mail with its racial epithet, Jonathan endured a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate, and daily vulgar comments.”
Incognito, in an interview with Fox Sports shortly after this statement was released, said “I’m embarrassed by my actions. But what I want people to know is, the way Jonathan and the rest of the offensive line and how our teammates, how we communicate, it’s vulgar. It’s, it’s not right.”
Stephen Ross, Dolphins owner, talked briefly about the report in the press conference for general manager Dennis Hickey. He said that he has a good idea of what’s in it and the Dolphins have a plan in place for what will happen when the report is released.
“I have an idea what will be in it,” Ross said “I haven’t seen the report. I don’t know exactly what his conclusion is. When it comes out, we’ll do what has to be done. In my mind, I know what direction we’re going … The respect that we gained by how we handled the situation that took place here says a lot about this organization and the people that are running it.”
One indication, as I have been reporting for weeks, is that OL coach Jim Turner will be fired once the report comes out. One reason why they have held off on firing him is because if the report puts Turner in a negative light, the Dolphins can fire him with cause and not owe him any money remaining on his contract. This speculation was further fueled yesterday when the Dolphins hired former Texans OL coach John Benton. Benton had been the OL coach for the past eight years and is very well – respected around the league.
The full interview will air on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk tonight (Wednesday) at 6:30 PM EST.
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