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The NFL’s Dolphins Investigation Shed Sympathetic Light On Jonathan Martin

Sounds like Richie Incognito’s recent Twitter rant wasn’t completely random.

Sounds like Richie Incognito’s recent Twitter rant wasn’t completely random. It appeared he could sense the walls closing in around him. On Friday, the NFL released the results of independent counsel Ted Wells’ investigation into the Miami Dolphins harassment crisis.

Ultimately, the report found that Martin was a victim of persistent workplace harassment.

The most important takeaway was that Jonathan Martin did not fabricate his allegations of harassment and that it named individuals besides Martin and Incognito.

According to the report, Martin was targeted by offensive linemen Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry.


In early February, Incognito and his lawyer released texts to try and discredit Martin’s claims, but the Wells report offered better insight into Martin’s personal issues with his treatment by teammates. There was a sliver doubt last week about the validity of Martin's claims, but Wells' report redeems the Dolphins second-year lineman and paints him as a victim who attempted to appease his harassers by befriending them.


A text message written to Martin’s parents in April of 2013 offers insight into the context of what Incognito believed was a genuine friendship.

I figured out a major source of my anxiety. I'm a push over, a people pleaser. I avoid confrontation whenever I can, I always want everyone to like me. I let people talk about me, say anything to my face, and I just take it, laugh it off, even when I know they are intentionally trying to disrespect me. I mostly blame the soft schools I went to, which fostered within me a feeling that I'm a huge pussy, as I never got into fights. I used to get verbally bullied every day in middle school and high school, by kids that are half my size. I would never fight back, just get sad & feel like no one wanted to be my friend, when in fact I was just being socially awkward. Most people in that situation are witty & quick with sarcastic replies, I never have been. I'm awkward around people a lot of the time because I simply don't know how to act around them . . .

However, after Martin complained in a text to his father about being called the N-word, he advocated some non-violent solutions—and then swiftly changed course.


They think nigger is okay because black people use it. Tell them you don't use it and it is never okey and if they do it again then they can kiss your black ass. Likewise say that your sister is a Madonna. If they say it again they can kiss your ass. If they do say either again then just stare at them give them and give them your finger. 16 Just so you know, I punked out many times including over nigger. Also over just being black. Mot proud of it in the least. It is just a matter of understanding your own strength. Had 3 white boys outside of a bowling alley calling me nigger. I backed down. Had a Harvard asshole talk about my suntan. I backed down. Just stay who you are. Also, I learned how to pop a bully in his mouth and kicked one in his balls.

Even before the season, Martin was suffering from severe depression.


I just don't really see the point in things. It's a major accomplishment for me if I brush my teeth or eat more than 1 meal in a day on off days. It's not that I'm sad, just unmotivated.

Joe Philbin can release a sigh of relief after the report vindicates him from being part of a vast organizational cover-up, but offensive line coach Jim Turner may want to update his resume soon.

During a recent ESPN guest appearance, Steelers safety Ryan Clark recalled a story in which a teammate told him that when Incognito gets released by the Dolphins, he would rush upstairs to the front office and urge management to sign him. Not only is Incognito, a Pro Bowl lineman, but the Steelers offensive line is a sieve, so that's not difficult to believe. Not all organizations would allow Incognito to run rampant like he did in Miami, but it did signify a culture in which players would rather have an athlete like Incognito on their side than one like Martin. Unfortunately, instances of Martin sobbing in a bathroom and discussing his decreasing passion doesn’t help his NFL future.

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Signing Incognito, may not be worth the P.R. disaster anymore. However, Martin may also find it difficult to find a franchise that is interested in a player that doesn’t fit into the macho culture of most NFL locker rooms and has had his struggles fitting in documented in such specific details.


You can view the full report here.