Martin is protected against retaliation, in theory

AP

With guard Richie Incognito apparently done in Miami, the question becomes whether tackle Jonathan Martin is, too.

For Incognito, the team reportedly has decided to sever ties. For Martin, it’s not known whether the locker room will welcome him back.

“NFL policy prohibits retaliation and will not tolerate any attempt at retaliation against any person, who, in good faith, makes or assists in making a complaint under our policies,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy tells PFT via email.

Those words sound good on paper, and they tend to make the lawyers happy. But what the rules require and what teams will tolerate can be two different issues.

With Martin, some players — and some coaches — won’t want a guy who blew the whistle on a teammate. In Miami, that could make it awkward to bring him back. It also could make Martin undesirable in the eyes of other players and other teams.

While players and coaches and organizations should not be influenced by the fact that Martin “told on” Incognito, some will. Veteran personnel executive Scott Pioli acknowledged during Monday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN that, even though it would be inappropriate to hold Martin’s decision to blow the whistle on Incognito against Martin, some teams would shy away from him because of it.

The Dolphins may have no choice but to keep Martin, at least through the expiration of his rookie deal. After the 2015 season, he’d hit the open market — and teams then would have to decide whether to pursue Martin.

Right or wrong, some won’t want to have anything to do with him.

62 responses to “Martin is protected against retaliation, in theory

  1. Has anyone asked Martin if he wants to come back? He’s the one who left the team in the first place. He may not even want to face those guys again.

  2. I would never ever sign this guy. Clearly, Incognito was/is an absolute low life, however, in a high profile job like this…you can NOT handle things the way Martin did. He made his teammates, coaches and the whole Miami organization look awful (and yes we all know they are awful)…he simply needed to go to management and make sure they resolved the issue and IF they refused or didn’t do anything, simply have his agent tell the F.O. You are going to the media w/the texts and voicemails…and watch how quick Miami would have taken care of this problem…end of story.

  3. Anyone who doesn’t clearly see who is in the right, and sympathize with that person, and who is in the wrong….is also very much in the wrong.

  4. RI may only be the FIRST shoe to drop. More players could be involved. Forgetting all the EMPLOYEES of the Dolphins for the time being, my question is simply this: WHERE were the team leaders when all of this mess was occurring? Is there NO leadership, or is the leadership truly this putrid? More to follow me thinks.

  5. .

    ” NFL policy prohibits retaliation and will not tolerate retaliation…. ”

    LOL…. What’s the NFL going to do? throw a flag? Call the Federal Bureau of I don’t care about you?

    Good luck with that.

    .

  6. The problem I would have , if I were coach or GM of the team , is that Martin didn’t keep it in-house. He could have simply went to someone within the organization and told them what was going on , rather than walking out on the team and then allowing it all to come in the national media.
    At the same time , the argument cuts both ways ; it’s awfully hard to find fault with the franchise when the head coach spoke with Martin both over the telephone and face to face shortly after he left , and the player says that nothing untoward ever occurred. A few days later , it becomes this huge story after Martin’s agent decides to national with the story. That’s why when people like Brian Billick — who admitted publicly to being interested in the Fins’ head coaching job two years ago , but was rebuffed — say: “This is a little bit like Watergate ; what did everybody know , and when did they know it ?” , I can’t take it with a whole lot of seriousness. Like any well established franchise that’s been around a long time and had a fair amount of success (Dolphins are in the top five of all four major North American sports since 1970 in terms of won-loss percentage) , they’re going to have their share of folks that are going to try and go absolutely nuts over this , but when it’s all said and done , how much you want to bet the team is found to be squeaky clean ?

  7. No, the reason nobody will want Martin is because he abandoned the team, not because he “told on” anyone. He could have dealt with Incognito and whoever else without quitting on the team.

  8. Martin is protected in the fact that he should never need to play football again.

    Philbin stood a rookie up in a meeting on Hardknocks to show off his shaved eyebrows and crazy haircut. The Dolphins and the NFL embraced this behavior.

    Avg salary of a starting LT selected in the 2nd round x career expectancy + mental anguish = Good Attorney.

  9. I think the “nobody likes a tattle tale” thing would be true in normal circumstances but with what has come out and the nature of what Incognito was saying and doing and the fact that initially he didn’t say anything but rather just left the team would minimize that. If he were my teammate I wouldn’t have any trouble welcoming back.

  10. If being angry at and taking a few weeks of leave in order to escape extortion and racial harassment is something which is viewed as a weakness in a man which disqualifies him from returning to his job, the NFL has some serious workplace issues. As long as conduct remains less than criminal among his future teammates in a professional environment, I think Martin has nothing to worry about. No man should tolerate an environment where a fellow employee can comfortably extort 30 grand for a single dinner. And if this is common in the NFL, the league needs to change their “professional” culture quickly. Otherwise, there are a lot of people who will be entitled to millions of dollars because of a hostile work environment. Just because it’s a sport doesn’t mean it’s not a workplace.

  11. Sounds like Martin wants nothing to do with the Miami Dolphins. It appears the organization knew of his problem but what really could they do? When all the facts are learned it might be Martin quit his job for good reasons. Happens every day in our/real world.

    Oh, by the way, Martin has every right to get out of a bad situation.

  12. Its a weird world when a douche bag leaves threatening messages (voice and texts) on your phone that include racism, and YOURE somehow weak and/or a wuss for not allowing it to continue

  13. It’s funny, some people are saying this a grown-ups game, that Martin is being a child for this. Well, if you retaliate at him for blowing the whistle on something that is a genuine crime, I’d tend to think you’re the immature one. NFL locker rooms sound more and more like day cares, and less like what they should be, a workplace for grown men.

  14. This isn’t a guy who ‘blew the whistle;’ it’s a guy that’s reporting a crime. Based on what I’ve read about paying for all or part of the Las Vegas trip, the voice mails and the texts it doesn’t sound like a team matter; it sounds like a criminal complaint and should have been reported to authorities outside the team.
    I see where the team could say ‘Gee, we didn’t have any idea…’ and sell it, but it looks to me like Ingognito needs some good damage control and a very competent lawyer.

  15. Hmmm.

    A quick Wikipedia search informs me this guy was a 2nd round pick just recently in 2012.

    And he’s apparently a man of great courage and principle. Yeah no room for a hot prospect with integrity, unless you want a team that stands for that kind of thing. You know winning football and with class. It’s not for everybody.

    But for Jonathan Martin’s potential luck perhaps there is one. That’s all he needs to have at this point. The team that has it’s back will have good prospects of seeing the favor returned.

    Do you want to protect yourself from the hecklers, or would you rather protect your franchise QB?

  16. Pouncey (Mr. Free Hernandez an alleged triple murderer and serial shooter since UF) and Incognito on Philbin’s leadership counsel??? Are you kidding me??? Isn’t Oline Philbin;s position expertise? And he is completely clueless???

    Did the coaching staff give the goon squad the order to toughen up Martin?

    Why don’t they start suspending coaches. Watch how fast they clean stuff up on and off the field.

  17. ohnoflorio says: Nov 4, 2013 10:10 PM

    I would never ever sign this guy. Clearly, Incognito was/is an absolute low life, however, in a high profile job like this…you can NOT handle things the way Martin did. He made his teammates, coaches and the whole Miami organization look awful (and yes we all know they are awful)…he simply needed to go to management and make sure they resolved the issue and IF they refused or didn’t do anything, simply have his agent tell the F.O. You are going to the media w/the texts and voicemails…and watch how quick Miami would have taken care of this problem…end of story.
    ==================================
    How do you know that he didn’t go to management first? Or it could be that, given the environment, he didn’t feel safe going to management, and felt that it would create more problems than solve them.

    Jonathan Martin is the victim here- not the Dolphins, his teammates, or Richie Incognito- and what a bunch of crappy enabling teammates he has- I don’t blame Martin for the way he responded.

  18. @randy001 – I see where the team could say ‘Gee, we didn’t have any idea…’ and sell it
    __________________

    I don’t. Philbin stood a rookie up in a meeting on Hardknocks to show off his shaved eyebrows and crazy haircut. That is no where near what Incognito did, but it’s still wrong. Show me where the Dolphins gave the Vets on the team a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

    Instead the Dolphins’ head coach on Hard Knocks allowed the behavior. The Head Coach allowed the behavior. I can’t say that enough. The defense of “I didn’t think it would go that far”, is not a defense.

    The NFL allowed the behavior. As soon as those episodes of Hard Knocks came out the NFL should have addressed the situation. I specifically tweeted members of of the media and Roger Goodell during those episodes. My tweets said the League office needs to address this now because of future liability. (Account Steven3210 – date July 25, 2012)

    Instead of the NFL being proactive, they are reactive as usual. Martin has a huge case here, but some bright attorney will figure that out – watch.

  19. Wow. What no one here is mentioning is that RI reportedly threatened Martin’s and his family’s lives.

    Given that we’ve just recently seen that there is indeed enough crazy in the NFL to pull the trigger at someone, how is Martin in any way to blame for choosing to simply walk away? He needed to put some distance between himself and RI (and maybe others) to figure out what to do. At first, I too felt like maybe he was being a little weak about this, but with the details that have come out…no way. You don’t risk your family when you have no idea just how far a head case will push things.

  20. I’m sure he’ll be fine. If anything I think he’ll get congratulations for getting Incognito out of the locker room. I don’t hear any of Incognito’s former teammates coming to his defense here…..from any team or any level of football.

  21. In the Dixie Chicks song, “Goodbye Earl” the words go, “…Earl walked right through that restraining order and put her in intensive care.”

    On paper you are protected, but that’s about it. They can’t protect you until the person does something, but many times when the person you fear does something it is too late to protect the fearful.

    Incognito could blame Martin for ruining his life, livelihood, and career, failing completely to see the huge part that he played in the situation. He could seek payback and there wouldn’t be anything anybody could do until it is done. Let’s all hope that Incognito is more mature than some.

  22. I am sorry but this situation as a whole smells of Dimitrius Underwood…..

    Maybe Martin will sign with the Vikings and bring this full circle…

    Just saying…

  23. Trade him in the offseason to Indy. His old QB Luck is there. His old Offensive Coordinator is there. Miami can rid themselves of him and in Indy Martin will be “protected” by his support group

  24. I don’t intend to defend Incognito, who does not appear to be the most likeable guy in the world for sure, but it is interesting how quickly this story has become solely about him. The initial report was that Martin went AWOL after an “incident in the team cafeteria this week in which TEAMMATES jokingly said they wouldn’t sit with him” and that the Dolphins were concerned about the relationship between Martin and his TEAMMATES, who had nicknamed him “Big Weirdo”. Just based on the initial reports, it does seem that Incognito is being singled out for what seems like must have been a wider problem involving more than just him.

  25. That’s BS…..if the NFL locker room is that neatherthal, I have been wasting my money on a bunch of losers for far too many years. No one should be allowed to threaten a co-worker’s family. Incognito is trash and is no better than Aaron Hernandez, and luckily the NFL found out before it was too late. Your move Goddell, you punished the Saints for far less.

  26. For all the comments asking, “Where were all the coaches?” “Where were the leaders and captains?” I played all the way up to the college level and this is how it works. You spend about 90% of your non practice/game time with your fellow teammates at your position; lifting, locker room time, etc. The only coach you see is your position coach, in the film room, may be before you lift, but that is it until practice. Even hanging with you fellow positional players can be cliquey. They probably got on his case every-other-day, and as a man he was not going to snitch and just took it until he snapped. Ive seen it before, but others have stood their ground and EARNED the respect of the bully, or fought it out and bullying stopped. Even after fights, the guys may not have liked each other but they kept their space and the team was better for it.

  27. How in the world do people find so much fault with Martin, it’s a fact that Incognito is one of the dirtiest players in the league and an obvious slime ball. I have been in business management for years and I don’t believe for a minute that “no one” in the Miami organization had a clue this was going on. Are you kidding me. Each team has something like 25 to 30 coaches and/or QA people, no way this is just limited to Incognito. Miami has a huge problem, and Martin’s not the cause of it, Incognito is.

  28. Listen this matter is serious, SUPER serious…..yeah martin told on a team mate but the guy left the team because incognito in my eyes was the ring leader behind this and I believe that more guys was in on it. Thats why he left, thats why he doesn’t want to return because of fear of his team mates or so called. There are guys sticking up for incognito on the roster as a good guy, this could be the reason behind martin troubles. martin never went to the front office because they didnt care about their players. if the nfl even gets a sniff that philbin or anyone in that front office knew then ross will fire guys just cause he has no choice and has to protect his investment for future talent. The vets was draining the rookies of their money. Now its clear that t-hill, wake, pouncey, wallace,hartline, starks none of these guys are true leader. I couldn’t play ball with guys that don’t have my back on the field

  29. Its funny how Incognito has been in this league for years, yet now because of Martin, he’s all of a sudden the worst guy who ever wore a uniform. Give it a rest people…..Incognito is the classic case of a guy you hate as an opponent but one you’d love to have on your team. Martin is a kid who needs some help in dealing with the issues that he’s had LONG before he was in the NFL. I wish him and Incognito the best.

  30. Who knows. Given that Incognito was a major jackass, Martin may receive a hero’s welcome in that locker room.

    If not, then perhaps the Phins’ front office has some more weeding out to do if they are serious about changing the culture of the team.

    They should care about that because character is important to many players and Miami is looking like a messy place to be. It wont effect their draft but FA players may opt to play elsewhere.

  31. It doesn’t help Incognito any that he has a reputation for being one of the league’s dirtiest players, but man oh man, is this ever the wrong year to be a football player from Florida threatening to kill someone….

  32. Organizations are made of people and people have their idiosyncrasies which come out on cue. This is why we have gotten better at putting policies in place to deal with harrassment and the difficult workers.

    They always tell you to follow the chain of command when you run into trouble. If you go to the owner and bypass your immediate supervisor, then you at some point you have made yourself the problem. Those people in between are perceived as incompetent because you didn’t follow guidelines.

    Then again, there is a component here that sounds like extortion and I don’t know how the team would have known how handle that without exposing the other player considering their instinct to keep things in-house. I have no faith the Dolphins would have known what to do so perhaps Martin was onto something.

    As the victim, Martin is not the problem, but in going public, he exposed an ugly mole on the face of the NFL. And now the NFL will have to do something about it before it becomes malignant.

    I am reading about this sad drama from UK newspapers for goodness sakes. The damage is not just the Dolphins, it is the NFL itself which has remained rather quiet during this whole thing. Not a peep from Ross. Philbin is taking it all by himself.

    This is a PR/HR/EEO nightmare on Biscayne street. I believe the NFL is confounded by it.
    Strange season. At this point, I wish it was over. I don’t know how Martin comes back under this onslaught. Good luck to him.

  33. This is Jeff Ireland. All the way.

    Dolphins players are already backing up big Richie.

    It is their culture.

    Saw Hard Knocks, Coach Philbin.

  34. No way Ritchie was the only instigator in this whole mess. Plenty of other linemen went along with hazing and crossing the line to extortion and intimidation.

  35. some of the Phins O line evidently agreed with Incognito as they were participating in BS like shunning the guy at lunch….

    those guys are supposed to be career professionals working to foster a team… no wonder they are literally the worst line in football

    and it’s amazing how many fans evidently agree with incognito by coming on here and inferring Martin is some crybaby…. I’d like to see you guys on the Phins taking all that abuse, racial bias, death threats, financial abuse, etc. for 18 months straight.

  36. This man will be a Colt in the near future.

    #1. Stanford connection. This man was Andrew Luck’s bodyguard in college.

    #2. The Colt organization highly values integrity, family and leadership. Those words seem to describe this man.

    #3. The Colts’ offensive line is dreadful.

  37. Why in the hell are you using Scott Pioli as a reference? He created a hostile work environment in KC and is currently in the middle of a multimillion dollar lawsuit over age discrimination. Pioli is just as bad as Richie Incognito, maybe worse.

  38. There are reports that the team was aware of some of RI’s behavior. If the team knew, and by inaction, condoned it, how is Martin supposed to ‘keep it in the team’?

  39. edavidberg says: Nov 4, 2013 10:07 PM

    I can’t imagine the Dolphins not welcoming Martin back considering the conduct of Incognito.
    :……………:…………….

    Well how about taking into consideration his substandard performance this year? That would allow me to justify not bringing Jonathan back. Plus look at his abandonment of his responsibilities to the team and teammates. “What ?” You may ask. Let me explain why his actions were also detrimental to the team.

    In any employee policy manual there is a clear description of what to do in the event of harassment in the workplace bringing the issue to human resources, or any other member of management up to and including the president and CEO. This is so the issue may be investigated and, if warranted, corrective action taken to preserve a working environment free of harassment whether it be sexual or any other. It appears Jonathan did not report this to anyone and just left. If he did report it and nothing was done then that is a whole different story.

  40. That still doesn’t explain the reason Martin doesn’t have a mustache.. I mean, it just looks strange.

  41. I was just having a little debate with a coworker yesterday on this very thing. He thinks Martin will come out of this just fine, but I argued his career is in more trouble than ever because he became a snitch, and you know what they say about snitches…

  42. tfbuckfutter says:
    Nov 4, 2013 10:11 PM
    Anyone who doesn’t clearly see who is in the right, and sympathize with that person, and who is in the wrong….is also very much in the wrong.
    **********************************************
    That’s a nice way of saying “If you don’t agree with me, you’re wrong.”

    Not all of us are softies like you.

    Romo had the same problem with Charles Haley and Romo dealt with it himself, he hit him as hard as he could 5 times.

    Haley never bothered him again.

    He didn’t take his ball and go home, he didn’t run to the coach or the media, he handled it like man.

  43. The fact that even up until the last moment, the Dolphins organization all the way up to its head coach, denied the existence of this behavior, tells you that the problem is organizational. The organization needs to send out the right message here. Part of that is never welcoming Incognito back (other teams have done that – no big deal). Another part of that is welcoming Martin back. Those players not welcoming him back should be shown the door. Obviously, this is a 2014 issue. This year is done and so are the Dolphins.

  44. craniator says:
    Nov 4, 2013 10:14 PM
    The problem I would have , if I were coach or GM of the team , is that Martin didn’t keep it in-house. He could have simply went to someone within the organization and told them what was going on , rather than walking out on the team and then allowing it all to come in the national media
    ================================
    This is the same organization that formally named Incognito as a member of its leadership council (kind of funny after what went down in St Louis) and denied knowing about this. Any organization that promotes or even allows this type of behavior IS the problem. Of course, nobody in his right mind really believe that Philbin and others didn’t know what was going on. Even now, you see players siding with Incognito.

  45. Martin should have handled this like a man and beat him down the second the line was crossed and then came to the team with the messages. Instead, he took his anger out on a lunch tray and walked out on his team. Right or wrong, he will be seen as soft, and someone who runs when things get tough in that locker room. On a side note, how the hell does Jeff Ireland still have a job?

  46. No doubt a fine, upstanding, recently subpoenaed teammate like Mike “Free Hernandez” Pounchey will welcome him with open arms. After all, he just took the vets ATM machine offline.

  47. Sad commentary on the league. Incognito shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Dirtiest player in the league. ?

  48. joetoronto says: Nov 5, 2013 7:58 AM

    tfbuckfutter says:
    Nov 4, 2013 10:11 PM
    Anyone who doesn’t clearly see who is in the right, and sympathize with that person, and who is in the wrong….is also very much in the wrong.
    **********************************************
    That’s a nice way of saying “If you don’t agree with me, you’re wrong.”

    Not all of us are softies like you.

    Romo had the same problem with Charles Haley and Romo dealt with it himself, he hit him as hard as he could 5 times.

    Haley never bothered him again.

    He didn’t take his ball and go home, he didn’t run to the coach or the media, he handled it like man.
    ==================================
    That’s a neat story Joe- Charles Haley was done with the Cowboys in 1996, and Romo began his career with the Cowboys in 2003. I’m really interested in hearing how this story is similar, given that they weren’t even teammates.

  49. frank booth says:
    Nov 5, 2013 10:22 AM

    That’s a neat story Joe- Charles Haley was done with the Cowboys in 1996, and Romo began his career with the Cowboys in 2003. I’m really interested in hearing how this story is similar, given that they weren’t even teammates.
    ***********************************************
    Wow, this is when they were teammates in San Francisco, Frank.

    Come on, SMH.

  50. The world is a hard place, Martin had a good contract. I work hard all year long, put up with crap daily from my customers all for peanuts. Martin is a sissy, a panzy and that’s why he got teased. Get him out of the NF and make him an Airline stewardess.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!