As the dust settles from the Jonathan Martin exclusive interview with Tony Dungy, of NBC sports, and member of the Steve Ross formed leadership committee, there are a few things we can, and cannot expect when Wells releases his report.
Dolphins’ owner Steve Ross said the report will be released after the Super Bowl, but he doesn’t seem to be worried about the events that lead to Martin leaving the team, and Richie Incognito’s coinciding suspension.
“I’ve been in communication with the NFL and I’ve spoken with Ted Wells, who is handling the investigation,” Ross said. “I don’t know exactly what his conclusions [are], but based on my conversations….when it comes out we’ll do what has to be done. In my mind I know what direction we’re going. Stay tuned.”
Martin has claimed the Dolphins locker room was a hostile work environment in which he was victim of alleged continuous verbal abuse, with Incognito being the main culprit.
For those who saw Martin’s exclusive sit down, the reaction has varied. Martin discussed some of what caused him to leave the team, without going into too much detail, something that is surprising considering he booked the interview.
Based on both Martin and Incognito’s interviews, and statements released by both men’s legal teams, there are several things that we will and won’t see in the Wells report when it is released after Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Martin claims to have spoken to coaches immediately above him, but not Joe Philbin. The first thought that can be taken from that fact is it’s a good thing Joe Philbin was not let go due to this incident alone. While it may have been warranted to fire Philbin based on the team’s performance down the stretch, it would have been a great injustice if Philbin was let go because of an issue he never had a chance to put a stop to.
In terms of the Wells report, the assumption is that offensive line coach Jim Turner is the coach immediately above him. Martin claims that when he became uncomfortable, he told the coaches “above him” of what was happening “didn’t get into specifics because you’re not supposed to quote unquote snitch on your teammates.” One would venture a guess to say that not much about a situation that causes you to leave your job during the middle of a season can be solved or fixed without specifics. Many do believe that Jim Turner will be let go when this report comes out because he did not act on what Martin told him. Regardless of specifics, when an employee comes to you complaining of a hostile work environment, you must take steps to fix the problem.
One thing that we will most certainly see, maybe not as a direct result of the report, but as a result of the players themselves, is neither Jonathan Martin nor Richie Incognito play another game for the Miami Dolphins. Martin has estranged himself so much from his former teammates, to have him in the locker room would be an insurmountable distraction, not to mention he just isn’t a very good player. Incognito, on the other hand, would have the backing of his teammates, but given his performance in 2014, six sacks allowed in eight games, he will not be resigned by the Dolphins, for that reason and the distraction he would also bring.
The next thing we will see is no Dolphins players backing the claim that their locker room was a hostile work environment. Players were so steadfast in their defense of the culture in the locker room, that I would be stunned to see any of them back down from that sentiment in this report. Ryan Tannehill was quoted as saying “if you ask Jonathan Martin about Richie two weeks ago he would’ve said he’s his best friend.” Tannehill went on to add “Jonathan Martin was like Richie Incognito’s little brother.” How can the face of the franchise be so blind to not realize that Martin was the victim of abuse that went above and beyond that of normal rookie hazing or vulgar banter between friends? He can’t. As with other players in the locker room, Tannehill could not have realized the situation had escalated to the place Martin says it did, and come out with that statement anyway. I think the Ted Wells report will feature the overwhelming majority of Dolphins players saying on record they didn’t realize anything was wrong.
Lastly, the Ted Wells report will most likely not reveal that Richie Incognito was the lone aggressor between him and Martin. Incognito, while most definitely an alpha male, stereotypical meathead offensive lineman, release a statement through his team showing that he is not the only party at fault. Incognito’s lawyer release as statement that claims Martin contributed his own inappropriate text messages and comments to the situation. Incognito’s lawyer Mark Schamel said in a statement to Fox News “The coarse and unacceptable comments and text messages that were sent to Jonathan Martin were of the same poor taste as those sent by him. All of these communications were provided to Ted Wells and the NFL investigation. What they show is banter between friends, not bullying.”
No matter what the report says next week, the events that unfolded around the Dolphins locker room ignited a national scandal that stole headlines for weeks. One thing that will not be included in the pages of this report is very evident to Dolphins fans, there is a great level of dysfunction in this organization, and it starts at the top with Steve Ross, and trickles down to the 53rd man on the roster.
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