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Former Dolphin insists Martin wasn’t bullied, and that coaches knew what was going on

Murtha Getty Images

Former Dolphins tackle Lydon Murtha has written a column for TheMMQB.com regarding the things he witnessed and the things he believed regarding the relationship between Dolphins guard Richie Incognito and Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin.  Characterized as a first-person account, it’s clear there are several key aspects on which Murtha wouldn’t have had first-hand information.

And so the biggest question becomes, on those points, where did he get the information?

Indeed, Murtha’s factual perspective is limited.  He played for the Dolphins through August 31, 2012, which means that he observed the interactions between Incognito and Martin only through the 2012 offseason program (following Martin’s arrival via the draft), training camp, and the preseason.

Murtha says, presumably based on his experiences, that Martin didn’t “seem to want to be one of the group,” and that he “came off as standoffish and shy” to the rest of the lineman.  Murtha says that Martin “couldn’t look anyone in the eye, which was puzzling for a football player at this level on a team full of grown-ass men.”

Fair translation?  The “grown-ass men” in the locker room viewed Martin as different, as not tough, and ultimately as soft.  Which meshes with the notion that, instead of accepting Martin for who he is, players (and possibly coaches) wanted to make Martin more like them.

In insisting that Incognito didn’t bully Martin, Murtha claims that everyone gave Martin a hard time:  “Other players said the same things Incognito said to Martin, so you’d need to suspend the whole team if you suspend Incognito.”

That could be good for Incognito, but bad for the Dolphins.

The bigger problem with Murtha’s proclamation that Incognito didn’t bully Martin is that Murtha seems to be applying his own interpretation of what “bullying” is.  To support his position, Murtha writes that Martin was never singled out or treated differently or excluded.

At the same time, Murtha never really addresses the question of whether the verbal interactions between Incognito and Martin crossed the line.  Murtha comes close, pointing out that he knows “when a guy can’t handle razzing” and that “Incognito doesn’t have that filter,” but Murtha never comments on whether Incognito exposed Martin to “razzing” that Martin may not have been able to handle.

The column then careens off the rails when Murtha in his supposed first-person account starts to offer conjecture about things he didn’t actually experience.  For example, Murtha declares the voice message sent earlier this year from Incognito to Martin — months after Murtha was cut — “came from a place of humor.”

How can Murtha possibly know that as part of a first-person account?  The more accurate explanation is that someone else (possibly Incognito) told this to Murtha.

Murtha also disputes the suggestion that Incognito improperly squeezed $15,000 out of Martin to pay for a trip to Las Vegas with no facts, and no proof.  Per multiple league and media sources, the trip happened in 2013.  Murtha was long gone by then, and yet Murtha uses his first-person account to create the impression that he has conclusive first-hand evidence of what happened.

He doesn’t.  Anything he said about it came from someone else.  Possibly Incognito.

And that’s where the column gets very interesting, but for reasons Murtha likely didn’t intend.  If, as it appears, someone else is funneling information to Murtha, someone else may have funneled this information, too:  “Incognito was made a scapegoat for the hell coming down on the Dolphins organization, which in turn said it knew nothing about any so-called hazing.  That’s the most outlandish lie of this whole thing. The coaches know everything. The coaches know who’s getting picked on and in many cases call for that player to be singled out. Any type of denial on that side is ridiculous.”

If Murtha is getting that information from Incognito, get ready for Incognito to officially claim that he was merely doing what he thought he was supposed to do as a team leader, and that management either told him to do it or at a minimum knew he was doing it.

That could be good for Incognito, but bad for the Dolphins.

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59 Responses to “Former Dolphin insists Martin wasn’t bullied, and that coaches knew what was going on”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Nov 7, 2013 11:41 AM

    Sounds like Lydon Murtha doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on nor that he is very knowledgeable about human behavior. He wants to create his own story that explains how he thinks Martin should have perceived these events in addition to not even knowing what the events are. Murtha should keep his mouth shut and not comment about sensitive topics that he has no information on as well as no intelligent formulation of an opinion that is fair to Martin. But I wouldn’t expect anything else from an ex-Dolphin, they are all probably trained to think like bullying idiots.

  2. Paul Stagg says: Nov 7, 2013 11:43 AM

    I can’t be the only person thinking maybe Martin wasn’t cut out to play in the NFL.

    There’s more to this.

  3. kaakwha says: Nov 7, 2013 11:43 AM

    Murtha = tool

  4. vikingapologist says: Nov 7, 2013 11:49 AM

    I blame Hernandez for it all! He has a far reaching grip on all of them in Miami, he may even have a key to the cell!

  5. bobloblaw says: Nov 7, 2013 11:54 AM

    This is not surprising to anyone played football in middle school or high school. Football players are bullies. And coaches do encourage that behavior.

  6. deidunx says: Nov 7, 2013 11:58 AM

    I see the Incognito spin machine is at work.

  7. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 7, 2013 11:59 AM

    Sorry… NOT teammate…. fellow Nebraska football alum.

  8. igotgamenj says: Nov 7, 2013 12:07 PM

    Playing football is a man’s job, and if there’s any weak link, it gets weeded out. It’s the leaders’ job on the team to take care of it.

  9. ezg1 says: Nov 7, 2013 12:35 PM

    Oh What A Tangled Web……

  10. onebucplace says: Nov 7, 2013 12:44 PM

    Another Generation Glee “words hurt” weakling that has no idea how to deal with someone who isn’t giving him a trophy.

  11. questionableprovenance says: Nov 7, 2013 12:46 PM

    Murtha’s going to make a great witness – for the plaintiff.

  12. @Cereal_22 says: Nov 7, 2013 12:51 PM

    Incognito was calling to ask Martin how he was doing in his own immature juvenile obscene yet unintentionally hurtful way….does Martin no longer want to play & is only using this as a means to continue to get paid good money ?

  13. 63deuceman says: Nov 7, 2013 12:57 PM

    “And when a player says he needs time off for mental reasons — again: in a sport with a suicide problem — it shouldn’t spark a national conversation on whether he’s soft.”
    ___________________

    That’s a quote from Brian Phillips of Grantland. And I agree with it.

    Those with “handle it in-house” or “warrior” mentality attitudes on this subject fail to see the perspective that Martin was, likely, suffering from mental health issues.

  14. groleo45 says: Nov 7, 2013 12:58 PM

    Unfortunately for the Dolphins it seems as though every single player that opens his mouth corroborates what Martin is claiming.

    You guys may think an NFL player should be able to ‘man up’ and handle the hazing, but it’s illegal in the workplace, & I guarantee when he sues and the OSHA investigation opens up, he’s going to win.

  15. billsfan1 says: Nov 7, 2013 12:59 PM

    Seems legit…

  16. ctgiant says: Nov 7, 2013 1:00 PM

    Can’t we {NFL FANS} just take the media, players, former, or current, as nothing more then
    mere speculation at this point?
    No one, yet knows anymore or less, then what we have to go on, just “stuff” that may make things worse, since the real truth is, only after a through
    and complete investagation is conducted will we be able to offer a reasonable opinion.
    Coughlin, talking about his own problem with JPP, literally dumping our #1 pick into a small ice cold tub with obvious players laughing, others saying fight, took action, and did not think it funny at all. “We all know what’s right & wrong, and when something is over the line, it’s then that you have to deal with it, and I did”
    CT GIANT

  17. mariorat says: Nov 7, 2013 1:13 PM

    If that is really what a culture of the NFL is, then I’m glad I’m not part of an NFL team.

  18. blueberrymuffin11 says: Nov 7, 2013 1:15 PM

    Ah, the old,” I was just following orders” defense.

  19. blue275 says: Nov 7, 2013 1:19 PM

    You can’t handle the truth!

  20. lionsplayoffs says: Nov 7, 2013 1:20 PM

    Sure, other players gave Martin a hard time, but how many of them were dumb enough to text him threats and leave him voicemails?

  21. southpaw79 says: Nov 7, 2013 1:21 PM

    You know things are getting bad for the dolphins when even Kaepernick stops wearing their gear.

  22. jsargent1987 says: Nov 7, 2013 1:25 PM

    Let’s put this in perspective a little bit: the United States military has a strict no-hazing policy. We would probably all agree that these people are some of the toughest people on the planet. Would you call them “pansies” or “wimps” for having this policy in place? I’m sorry, but the fact that this kind of hazing and bullying (which is exactly what it is, people) is accepted in some NFL circles is just disgraceful. We can debate all day about Martin and his personality, but the real issue here is what is accepted in NFL circles. These are human beings, not animals or warriors in the 15th century.

  23. steviaquinn says: Nov 7, 2013 1:28 PM

    Lot’s of players are calling out Martin now ( clabo, Hartline). I dont agree with some of those messages by incongnito but where there’s smoke there’s fire. Looks like there is a lot more to this story. I’ll reserve judgment until more facts are known.

  24. blockedshotnyr says: Nov 7, 2013 1:30 PM

    I heard a Murtha radio interview with Boomer and Carton today in New York and he came across as genuine.

    I do not understand the skepticism here, you have had several players come out and defend Icognito here and effectively say that Martin’s actions are entirely strange. If Incognito was such a bad guy and so out of line, his teammates would be killing him.

    By all accounts, except for Martin’s, Incognito has been a great locker room guy and the two were friends.

    I do not condone, nor should anyone condone bullying, but at the same time, does this not reek of Martin was upset at the Dolphins for bringing in McKinnie to take his job and jumped at the first opportunity to make this situation public.

    Why would he wait this long? A lot of things don’t add up here on his side.

  25. novajoemicmac says: Nov 7, 2013 1:32 PM

    Martin’s in trouble. Even Ricky Williams is defending Incognito.

  26. zoneblitzcom says: Nov 7, 2013 1:38 PM

    As doctorrustbelt kind of pointed out, Murtha & Incognito’s paths presumably crossed at Nebraska…Incognito’s final season (during which he was kicked off the team) was 2004, and Murtha was a redshirt freshman in 2004…

  27. wfi801 says: Nov 7, 2013 1:44 PM

    Who else wants to chime in? Have we heard from Don Shula yet?

  28. emoorm says: Nov 7, 2013 1:47 PM

    OG David Arkin was just picked up by Miami from the Dallas Cowboy’s practice squad…. I’m thinking good luck David!! You will need it!

  29. tved12 says: Nov 7, 2013 1:49 PM

    blockedshotnyr says:
    Nov 7, 2013 1:30 PM
    I heard a Murtha radio interview with Boomer and Carton today in New York and he came across as genuine.

    I do not understand the skepticism here, you have had several players come out and defend Icognito here and effectively say that Martin’s actions are entirely strange. If Incognito was such a bad guy and so out of line, his teammates would be killing him.

    By all accounts, except for Martin’s, Incognito has been a great locker room guy and the two were friends.

    I do not condone, nor should anyone condone bullying, but at the same time, does this not reek of Martin was upset at the Dolphins for bringing in McKinnie to take his job and jumped at the first opportunity to make this situation public.

    Why would he wait this long? A lot of things don’t add up here on his side.

    Aaron Rodgers and many others stood up for Ryan Braun, should we just take their word for it and reserve our own opinion?

    Many guilty people have others on their side, doesn’t mean they’re innocent.

  30. phathead7 says: Nov 7, 2013 1:52 PM

    isnt jonathan martin the guy who was crying on hard knocks last year?

  31. isphet71 says: Nov 7, 2013 1:56 PM

    Martin was absolutely cut out to be an NFL player. He has the skills and abilities. He also has the tape to back it up.

    What he didn’t have was the same alpha male temperament of the vast majority of the players in that locker room, so he got singled out and treated differently. Could have been to make him more like the others, could have been malicious, who knows? Doesn’t matter.

    He was pushed and teased in ways that he didn’t feel comfortable with. Just because 90% of the guys on the roster and the NFL COULD handle that behavior, doesn’t mean it’s OK to do to EVERYONE on the team. Individuals need to be treated differently based on their personalities. Period.

  32. surfinbird1 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:00 PM

    So, what a lot of people are saying now is that Incognito’s behavior (and others like him) is acceptable as long as it’s in the “tough guy” world of the NFL. but not in everyday life. Try teaching that to your kids and make sense. C’mon man.

  33. phillytj says: Nov 7, 2013 2:01 PM

    “instead of accepting Martin for who he is, players (and possibly coaches) wanted to make Martin more like them.”

    There’s a difference between accepting who a person is and trying to strengthen a weak link on a team. Pro football isn’t for everyone. I don’t envy the pressure that Martin probably faced as a high draft pick but it appears he wasn’t cut out (at least mentally) for the NFL.

  34. jonevans83 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:08 PM

    Martin voted and supported Incognito to be on the leadership counsel. There is also over-whelming evidence (video, audio, first hand accounts) of them being friends. Martin got upset from the overwhelming media critique of his playing ability all offseason/preseason/regular season and then lost his job to a guy who was traded in just a few days before. He leaves the team and then uses Incog as his scapegoat. What are you an everyone else going to say when the Dolphins and their players break out videos/audio/pictures of Martin pulling these jokes on other players? You know they have them

  35. psu1989 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:08 PM

    Sounds like a case where Colonel Jessup ordered the code red.

  36. nyjetsfan08 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:13 PM

    Let’s be real here. Nobody knows anything except the people currently in the Dolphins organization and anyone connected to it (i.e. media sources, Martin, Incognito). Is Martin soft? I’m not sure. Is Incognito a bad guy? He has a checkered past, no doubt. He might be a bad guy. But his teammates are circling around him, making a wall. Either that’s organic or a deliberate action by the Dolphins to employ operations damage-control and make it the Dolphins vs Martin, given the possibility of a lawsuit.

    This whole thing is just one big onion with seemingly unlimited layers. The only way this will be fully understood is the Dolphins, Martin, and Incognito to come forward and be and open and honest about everything. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will happen.

  37. guitarrebel says: Nov 7, 2013 2:21 PM

    A lot of players and posters are going after Martin’s ‘manliness’ and ‘toughness’ but I have only one question…..could the dude block and protect his quarterback and open holes in the line for runners? If the answer is yes, then everything else concerning it is hubris.

  38. gobiggreen says: Nov 7, 2013 2:22 PM

    Guy gave a great interview with the local NY sports radio and made it clear that his opinion was based on how things were done in 2012. How the $15,000 was for a “bonding” trip the OL does in Miami every year and someone fronted Martin the cash to go and he backed out at the last second, dropping the bill on his teammates.
    Guy also discussed the text message Martin sent to Icognito after he stormed out of the cafeteria which read (paraphrasing)”It’s okay man, it’s not you that made me leave. we’re good”.

    Sounds more like Martin never should have been in the NFL to begin with

  39. conormacleod says: Nov 7, 2013 2:26 PM

    “Former Dolphin insists Martin wasn’t bullied, and that coaches knew what was going on”
    —————————————-
    So, if he wasn’t bullied, then I guess “nothing” was going on. Except, if “nothing” was going on, how could the coaches know what was “going on”?

  40. beach305 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:34 PM

    I can’t believe with all the talk about Goodel making the NFL soft ,that so many defend Martin for being sensitive to a lunch room prank.

    My, for some of you to equate what goes on an NFL looker room with that of your office is just really stupid. These guys see each other more than their own families. They train, work, eat, sleep, travel together.

    When you have a room full of 58 guys your are going to hear some off color humor.

  41. lawyermalloy says: Nov 7, 2013 2:59 PM

    Martin and his agent, had to know that his way of handling this would surely blackball him from ever playing in the league, thus, I’m convinced that he’s setting himself up for a law suit against the team and the league. The problem than becomes weather he’d be forced to arbitrate under the CBA.

  42. Go-Hawks! says: Nov 7, 2013 3:01 PM

    Did the whole team leave a voicemail for Martin saying “hey you half n—– piece of s—…”??

    No. Incognito did. You say that kind of thing to a man’s face, that’s one thing. But when you start leaving childish voicemails.. Well, then context is easily lost and you just provided a team of lawyers with evidence against you.

    I’ll be surprised if Martin doesn’t take this to court and retire from the NFL.

  43. funshipm174 says: Nov 7, 2013 3:12 PM

    Miami Dolphins circling the wagons. Ireland is the biggest Idiot of a GM and Incognito has a rap list a mile long and is released and all of a sudden EVERY Dolphin player loves him?????

    Philbin”s nose was growing during press conference yesterday.

  44. unclebluck says: Nov 7, 2013 3:20 PM

    So now the guy who new Martin for maybe a month is an expert on what went on for the next 15 months when he was not even around…..

  45. getitrightflorio says: Nov 7, 2013 3:23 PM

    Martin played for the Dolphins of course he wants out of football

  46. funshipm174 says: Nov 7, 2013 3:33 PM

    The guy who played judst the preseason is the expert now!

    #BOUNTYGATE II

  47. louhudson23 says: Nov 7, 2013 3:42 PM

    You can’t have it both ways.Incognito sent the texts and emails or he didn’t. If he did,they need to shut their yaps,it is all right there and nothing is going to change it.Only the most inane can continue to “not agree with the texts he sent,but…..” There is no but,the player was threatened,extorted and harassed. No amount of pseudo hard ass bluster can change it. As has been pointed out,the Military has gotten well over this crap,at least in terms of official tolerance. As we Marines prepare to enjoy our 238th Birthday on November 10th,keep in mind that having communicated the same messages to a fellow Marine,one would be in the brig and facing the possibility of fines,demotions and imprisonment…..which is how management properly displays leadership and guards morale……Semper Fi

  48. hawthornetheheater says: Nov 7, 2013 3:49 PM

    The inquiry needs to drill down on Joe Philbin. Not Incognito. His press conferences only reinforce this concept. You don’t expend that much mental energy to go waaaaay out of your way to deny any involvement or knowledge unless you yourself are in fact the true culprit in this scenario.

    Martin needs some mental health services. I get that. Let him get the help he needs, but please, don’t spin that into a Spanish Inquisition of Incognito or other players, or the “atmosphere” in the locker room. We don’t need any outsiders coming in to “sanitize” all NFL locker rooms.

  49. eleventyeight says: Nov 7, 2013 4:25 PM

    If Martin acted that stand-offish and constantly avoided eye contact for two years it would spook any group of people, most especially a pro football team.

    IMHO there absolutely has to be more to this story than Incognito simply singling-out and victimizing Martin for no reason.

    My bet is that Martin never really reacted to anything anyone said or did and likely since Martin never stood up for himself guys must’ve thought he was OK with being picked on until Martin suddenly threw the equivalent to a pubescent temper tantrum by walking out and creating a big stink.

    Sure, Incognito *appears* to be solely in the wrong, but passive-aggressive people often sit back feeling sorry for themselves just waiting for somebody to give them “proof” that everybody is being mean to them.

    Martin, like many young NFLers, went from BMOC(big man on campus) and being coddled by college and HS programs where he was bigger and stronger than anyone else back to the bottom wrung of the hierarchy of the team.

    I say both guys are in the wrong but that the media types are trying to destroy Incognito in the name of money, pubs and prestige while ignoring any culpability on Martin’s part.

    After all- Martin IS a 6’6″/330lb. pro football player and 22yo – he’s an ADULT by every indicator of adulthood.

  50. 2bemoore43 says: Nov 7, 2013 4:38 PM

    isphet71 November 7, 2013, 1:56 PM EST
    He was pushed and teased in ways that he didn’t feel comfortable with. Just because 90% of the guys on the roster and the NFL COULD handle that behavior, doesn’t mean it’s OK to do to EVERYONE on the team. Individuals need to be treated differently based on their personalities. Period.

    Well put… my issue with that is that there is no ‘I (ndividual)’ in/nor on a team.

  51. riverhorsey says: Nov 7, 2013 5:11 PM

    Martin comes off looking more and more aloof. Nobody I know of from the team either currently or from the past has taken up for Martin.

    Everyone from the players aspect has come down on the side of Incognito.

    Inclined to think Martin was kind of an aloof and arrogant guy based on everything I’ve heard.

  52. ezzz2the says: Nov 7, 2013 5:31 PM

    People need to stop applying their office 9-5 job sensibilities to an NFL locker room ITS NOT THE SAME as a matter a fact its not the same in any locker room high school thru the pros so just stop it! Incognito might have taken it a bit over board but for it to reach this level of media attention is crazy. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”, remember that? Incognito never laid hands on that man for him to be acting like such a B!tich this could and should have been handled behind closed doors within the team and if you can’t handle that man to man maybe the NFL isn’t for you, he can always be a great lawyer like many in his family

  53. jkmail says: Nov 7, 2013 5:34 PM

    “Characterized as a first-person account, it’s clear there are several key aspects on which Murtha wouldn’t have had first-hand information.”

    Did you somehow miss the last sentence of the first paragraph?

    “…from my own experiences and from conversations with friends still on the team.”

    Nowhere in the article does it say it is solely based on first-hand information. You can have an opinion one way or the other on how truthful Murtha is being but please don’t use a flimsy excuse to discredit an article to push your own agenda.

  54. aflightguy says: Nov 7, 2013 5:45 PM

    Martin sounds like someone with Aspergers Syndrome and may not have been able to decipher if Incognito was exhibiting jocularly or was a real threat

  55. mew395 says: Nov 7, 2013 6:28 PM

    Martin should just come out…seems pretty obvious

  56. bengalskuta82 says: Nov 7, 2013 6:31 PM

    Sounds like a former player seeing an opportunity to be in the 15mins spotlight. Another clueless dude full of ambiguity.

  57. steelpalace5000 says: Nov 7, 2013 6:31 PM

    First off let me say this I don’t care who it is I work with If I was Martin I wouldn’t Pay 15000 to anyone if I didn’t want to. Jesus could come and tell me to pay it and it just would not happen. But it seems funny the only players coming out to speak are white. Yesterday all I seen on here was opinions of white players. Im white and wonder why there are no black players coming forward to say the same things the white players are. The accused has been trouble every place he has been since high school what makes people think he has changed.

  58. hbegley6672 says: Nov 7, 2013 6:59 PM

    Clearly… You! Have no agenda…. Maybe, just maybe he has better sources than you… Maybe he doesn’t, but you’re predisposition is a joke..

  59. cjas9298 says: Nov 8, 2013 3:50 PM

    Murtha is not objective. He was a bystander. And, as the article points out, he speaks in the first person about events that happened in May, 2013 when his time with the ‘phins ended August, 2012.

    These men have no integrity.

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