Reporter Jonathan Martin – Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin has spoken out for the first time since leaving the team over alleged bullying, which led to a media firestorm surrounding Richie Incognito for his role in the saga.
Here’s the statement from Martin, courtesy of Palm Beach Post reporter Andrew Abramson:
“The comments come after SportsCenter passed along an update from Lisa Salters, which stated Martin is likely going to sit out the rest of the season due to the controversy. He wants to play football again, but doesn’t think Miami is the right place.”
Incognito recently sat down for a interview with FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer. He said he never intended to cause his teammate any harm. Instead, he was trying to help Martin, using tactics that have become part of the NFL’s locker-room culture.
James Walker of ESPN reported Martin took a leave of absence in late October after an incident in the team’s lunch room. Apparently, he was on the receiving end of ribbing from his offensive linemen, which caused him to walk out and not return.
A few days later, Jeff Darlington of NFL Network received word from Incognito that Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin informed him he was suspended indefinitely pending a league investigation into the matter.
Racially charged messages Incognito had left for Martin were leaked and revealed by ESPN, which subjected the veteran lineman to intense scrutiny. In the aforementioned interview with FOX Sports, he denied being racist despite admitting to leaving the infamous voicemail.
Incognito also said the text messages went both ways and, at least in his view, they were being exchanged between friends and not foes, which is how they might have appeared to outsiders.
The interview allowed Incognito to get his side of the story out amid bullying allegations, leaving it up to others how they want to view his role in Martin’s exit. Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel previously reported that coaches had asked the leader of the line to toughen up the younger player.
Before Friday’s statement, the second-year lineman hadn’t commented publicly on the subject. Now that each player has spoken out, it’s unclear where the story will go from here, as so many questions remain unanswered.