The independent report by Ted Wells on the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito situation was released Friday, 2/14/14. The report revealed that Jonathan Martin was harassed by other team members besides Incognito, including Mike Pouncey and John Jerry:
“After a thorough examination of the facts, we conclude 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 Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman, whom we refer to as Player A for confidentiality reasons, and a member of the training staff, whom we refer to as the Assistant Trainer. We find that the Assistant Trainer repeatedly was targeted with racial slurs and other racially derogatory language. Player A frequently was subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching. 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.”
The report details Jonathan Martin as being subject to bullying throughout high school, causing depression. He experienced suicidal thoughts throughout 2013. Reportedly, the three teammates “did not intend to drive Martin from the team or cause him lasting emotional injury.”
Several key points in the investigation include:
- Incognito kept a book of fines for the offensive line group. Martin was fined several times for “being a p—-.” Pouncey was fined for his FBI subpoena. Incognito fined himself $200 for “breaking” Martin. Incognito reportedly told the offensive linemen to destroy the book in early November, saying “They’re going to suspend me Please destroy the fine 4 book first thing in the morning.”
- “Martin Was Subjected to Persistent Harassing Language. Martin was most troubled by persistent and graphic comments about his sister.”
- “Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey Harassed Other Dolphins Personnel.” A “Player A” was reportedly also harassed, as the Offensive Line coach for the Dolphins was in on homophobic jokes about him. An Assistant Coach of Japanese descent was also harassed: “We found that the Assistant Trainer, who was born in Japan, was the target of frequent and persistent harassment, including insults relating to his race and national origin.”
- “One player, whom we found credible, said that Incognito was ‘a good player, but he is kind of a disease; he divides a locker room. … (Incognito) is the kind of guy who has to be the alpha male.’ “
- “On May 5, after feeling humiliated by Incognito and Pouncey during a yacht trip, Martin sent his mother these messages: ‘I’m never gonna change. I got punked again today. Like a little b—-. And I never do anything about it.’ “
- Coach Philbin was not aware that any of this harassment was going on in his team.
Wells’ conclusion is as follows: “As all must surely recognize, the NFL is not an ordinary workplace. Professional football is a rough, contact sport played by men of exceptional size, speed, strength and athleticism. . . But even the largest, strongest and fleetest person may be driven to despair by bullying, taunting and constant insults. We encourage the creation of new workplace conduct rules and guidelines that will help ensure that players respect each other as professionals and people.”
The release of this investigation is huge, considering that the public was starting to sway to Incognito’s side during the period following Jonathan Martin’s leave. Judging from these reports, Martin felt that he was being harassed by all three players, but there was a lack of communication about Martin’s feelings that caused the severity of his mental illness. The complexity of the situation could cause it to be viewed in many different ways, especially considering that Richie Incognito did not think that he was harassing Jonathan Martin.
We will await a statement from the NFL and the Dolphins.