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In Incognito case, it’s critical to keep an open mind

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After several weeks of covering the Saints bounty scandal in 2012, I took a step back, broadened the proverbial lens, and decided that the stuff the media was being fed by the NFL contained some serious flaws.

After several days of covering the latest NFL scandal, involving Dolphins guard Richie Incognito and Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin, it’s time to do the same.

But at a time when the media is being accused of rushing to judgment on Incognito, there’s one very important point to remember.  The Dolphins rushed to judgment on Incognito, not the media.  The media simply went along for the ride, just like it did with the Saints bounty scandal.

And it makes sense.  The Dolphins, within a matter of hours after receiving evidence from Martin’s representatives supporting allegations of harassment, suspended Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team.  The Dolphins reached a quick conclusion, and the Dolphins meted out swift and sudden punishment.

It was easy to adopt the notion that Incognito must have done something wrong.  If he hadn’t, the Dolphins wouldn’t have suspended him.  (Incognito’s rant on Twitter professing his innocence also made it easier to attach a black hat to his head.)

Now, as folks quibble over whether the controversial voice message from Incognito to Martin was done in jest and/or ended with a more friendly tone of voice and/or was played for teammates amid laughter, it’s important to remember that, for whatever reason, the Dolphins decided they had enough evidence to support a decision to suspend Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team.

No one knows the full extent of the evidence, because the Dolphins management isn’t talking.  As time passes, however, the void is being filled by leaks and by Wednesday’s barrage of unauthorized on-the-record player comments supporting Incognito.

As evidence emerges that tends to suggest Martin possibly wasn’t harassed or that he possibly had some agenda to quit football while still being paid or that he’s possibly being pushed to make this an issue by his agents or parents or that he possibly has a real mental illness for which he needs treatment and care, the only thing we know for sure is that the Dolphins saw enough to suspend Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team.

Moving forward, it’s important to set aside any opinions that already have been reached and to keep an open mind as more facts become available.  Incognito, we’re told, will be fighting his suspension.  Through that process, plenty of facts will come out.  An investigation of the Dolphins organization will be conducted by an outside lawyer, and the report will be made public.  Through that process, plenty of facts will come out.

Through it all, we plan to review the facts, scrutinize them, understand how they fit within the bigger picture, and at all times to refrain from making any firm conclusions about what happened.

The strongest opinion we’ve formed so far is one to which we still adhere — Martin did the right thing by not physically confronting Incognito.  Beyond that, any other potential opinions will be deferred until we know the rest of the story.

Even then, our final opinion may be that we still don’t know the whole story.

For more on the story that still has a lot more that we don’t know, here’s Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post from Thursday’s PFT Live.

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90 Responses to “In Incognito case, it’s critical to keep an open mind”
  1. ebr362 says: Nov 7, 2013 1:52 PM

    Finally something I agree with you on. There is 3 sides to every story as they say.

  2. TheRealLogicalVoice says: Nov 7, 2013 1:52 PM

    Well done Florio. This is perfect. No matter what the outcome is, this is indeed an ugly situation for all those involved. Hopefully the NFL doesn’t receive a black eye over this.

  3. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 7, 2013 1:53 PM

    Critical to keep your mind, period. Lots of them seem to be getting lost in this situation.

  4. tfaulk says: Nov 7, 2013 1:54 PM

    So… what about the “opinion” that because the Dolphins suspended Incognito it’s okay to rush to judgment? How bout the opinion that Murtha must be getting info from Incognito and can’t be trusted? What about the opinion that you could trust reports coming out of Martin’s camp even though virtually everything they’ve stated has been firmly denied or flatly refuted?

  5. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 7, 2013 1:54 PM

    Richie’s chances of going through life Incognito just went out the door.

  6. jc327 says: Nov 7, 2013 1:55 PM

    Thanks for backing up and taking a more objective view. It would be nice if the rest of the world would do that, but I don’t expect that to happen.

  7. glenuendo says: Nov 7, 2013 1:56 PM

    As I have heard before and firmly believe, when the final report comes out, no one will be happy. This situation is a huge freaking mess.

  8. abqpacker says: Nov 7, 2013 1:57 PM

    Well written.

  9. jonevans83 says: Nov 7, 2013 1:59 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

  10. tavisteelersfan says: Nov 7, 2013 1:59 PM

    Facts as I see it:

    Martin walked out on a job it took him a lifetime of work to get and few ever do.

    Martin checked himself into a hospital for emotional issues.

    Incognito was suspended

    Incognito left a really bad voicemail/emails with Martin.

    Martin had to pay $15k for a trip he did not go on.

    Martin did not feel comfortable enough with the team, coaches and management, to tell them he was in a bad way.

    My conclusion, Martin felt the culture of the team was harmful to him and he could not trust it.

    Let the NFL decide if he was right.

  11. thestrategyexpert says: Nov 7, 2013 1:59 PM

    Well my opinion is firm and I have seen enough to make it. It seems to me there could be issues and/or faults going on with multiple people and I doubt that either Incognito or Martin is perfect and I don’t think either person deserves to be hung without a proper investigation and fair understanding of what went on.

    But none of that matters to me because it’s not either of these players’ responsibilities to manage and control the whole team. There are supposed to be OTHER people whose job is to do that, and the Dolphins biggest mistakes and people who are most responsible for this meltdown of a situation are not these players. They are the higher up people and at this point everything seems to suggest that the GM is the one who should have to answer questions and make statements before anybody else should be making a statement. I highly suspect that he is the starting point for all things wrong in Miami unless you want to put the blame directly on the Owner. But that’s the area that needs to be examined so that the bad football people, if there are some associated with the team, can be asked to leave and like RIGHT NOW!

  12. braddavery says: Nov 7, 2013 2:01 PM

    This situation is what happens when football locker room culture is seen/heard by the public. The public simply can’t grasp that people in certain parts of life do and say things differently than what is acceptable in everyday society.

  13. therealraider says: Nov 7, 2013 2:02 PM

    the Dolphins suspended Incognito because they needed to act in a manner that suggests they support Martin. As the fog clears and light is being shed on the situation it appears that Martin lost his starting job, the dolphins players played a common prank on him and he couldn’t handle it. This is as much a case of bullying as a locker room towel snap is assault.

  14. fwippel says: Nov 7, 2013 2:03 PM

    Nice to see you post this, and back away from previous statements. Hope the media outlets everywhere have learned a lesson from this.

  15. kdr13 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:03 PM

    Florio,

    Great post. This objective and insightful commentary is what I remember being the trademark of this site from it’s beginning.

    While I have been very critical of your handling of this story up to this point, I agree with your statements here 100%. Too often, we pick a side, then only accept what facts or stories support it.

    Well said.

  16. whoisedgy says: Nov 7, 2013 2:04 PM

    Keeping an open mind is critical. So is maintaining objectivity. This is especially difficult since many of the media outlets are also business partners of the NFL.

    The same NFL that had Pac Man Jones address rookie symposiums and the same NFL whose Miami franchise had Richie Incognito do public service announcements on fan etiquette. In both instances, the players had known backgrounds as “bad guys”. Isn’t it time to question the judgment of the entire league?

  17. dirtdawg54 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:05 PM

    An issue no one seems to be talking about is what I’ll call the “Hernandez Effect”. Because of Hernandez, I don’t think any club can simply say “boys will be boys”. They have to be thinking about the possibility the threats are real. And do you think that was going through the Dolphin’s minds, in light of Pouncey being on the roster? Um, yeah, likely a safe bet.

  18. conormacleod says: Nov 7, 2013 2:05 PM

    “The Dolphins, within a matter of hours after receiving evidence from Martin’s representatives supporting allegations of harassment, suspended Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team.”
    ——————————————–
    I have yet to read; “the EVIDENCE from Incognito and the Miami Dolphins…”

    All I have heard in support of Incognito so far is opinions of others. People can lie all day long. Martin can lie. Incognito can lie. The one thing that can’t lie, is the EVIDENCE. And thus far, the evidence is proving Incognito guilty. That doesn’t mean he is the only guilty party here. It just means so far, the evidence proves him guilty.

  19. karlton3 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:06 PM

    “(Incognito’s rant on Twitter professing his innocence also made it easier to attach a black hat to his head.)”

    —————————————————-

    To be fair, it’s not a true “black hat” but merely an honorary one.

  20. deadlevelbest says: Nov 7, 2013 2:07 PM

    It’s critical to keep an open mind; unlike Martin’s teammates.

  21. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Nov 7, 2013 2:09 PM

    Why are we not calling this whole situation Bullygate or something yet?

  22. conormacleod says: Nov 7, 2013 2:11 PM

    jonevans83 says:
    Nov 7, 2013 1:59 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.
    ————————————
    Schoolyard Bully: “Um, he gave me his lunch money because he wanted to.”

    Victim: “Y-y-y-y-y-es. That’s right. I gave it to him. He didn’t take it from me.”

    And thus, the victim tries to avoid getting picked on even more, by agreeing with the bully, and hoping the bully will just leave him alone.

    FYI: two people can be friends, then have that friendship broken when one friend forces another friend to give him money and also threatens his family.

  23. eezyxyz says: Nov 7, 2013 2:13 PM

    “….the Dolphins decided they had enough evidence to support a decision to suspend Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team.”

    …or, they decided that the best way to defend the team against accusations of creating a bad work environment was to single out one player as a scapegoat and say it’s all his fault and not a team issue.

    None of us knows the complete truth here, but in evaluating things we need to keep in mind that the Dolphins have a clear incentive to keep things focused on a single player and say it’s all his fault, and Martin’s side has a clear incentive to exaggerate the mistreatment he received on the team in order to explain his emotional outburst and abrupt departure from the team.

  24. prosportswashington says: Nov 7, 2013 2:15 PM

    I just wish people would stop speculating/backtracking/defending/speculating again until all the facts come out!

  25. rugolin says: Nov 7, 2013 2:15 PM

    Finally an article that says let’s wait till all the facts come out before we rush to judgement. The rest of the media is running all over the place reporting any kind of speculations and rumors then trying to spin editorial comment from it. Just plain bad journalism where people trying to beat each other to the story on the internet and say we will correct the details later.

    If you want to take something away from this is that it is not the NFL who looks bad as this kind of thing happens everywhere. Schools,workplaces and any other human activity with more than 2 people.

  26. daddyb1gdrawz says: Nov 7, 2013 2:16 PM

    Lets be clear here. If the Fins only heard the piece the media has revealed to the public then they were right to suspend Incognito. However, if there is more to that tape that leads everyone to believe the message was in fun then the Fins will have to reinstate Incognito. If not, I am sure he would have grounds to sue the organization for his pay but if I am not mistaken he is still being paid.

  27. conormacleod says: Nov 7, 2013 2:16 PM

    harassment (either harris-meant or huh-rass-meant) n. the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. The purposes may vary, including racial prejudice, personal malice, an attempt to force someone to quit a job or grant sexual favors, apply illegal pressure to collect a bill, or merely gain sadistic pleasure from making someone fearful or anxious. Such activities may be the basis for a lawsuit if due to discrimination based on race or sex, a violation on the statutory limitations on collection agencies, involve revenge by an ex-spouse, or be shown to be a form of blackmail (“I’ll stop bothering you, if you’ll go to bed with me”). The victim may file a petition for a “stay away” (restraining) order, intended to prevent contact by the offensive party. A systematic pattern of harassment by an employee against another worker may subject the employer to a lawsuit for failure to protect the worker.
    ————————
    I read this twice. I failed to see the part that says it is acceptable in an NFL locker room, or if one party is a large man.

    FYI: the NFL may be tax exempt, but they are not exempt from the laws of these United States.

  28. jonevans83 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:16 PM

    THE FULL VOICEMAIL WAS JUST RELEASED. Looks like it supports Incognito… so explain why it was never played for the media as “audio” and only as a read out in txt which can be completely taken out of context… and then it omits key information to project a certain viewpoint. Looks more and more like Martin is playing lawyer games to get paid for no work

  29. shaggytoodle says: Nov 7, 2013 2:18 PM

    I understand why people are hesitant to give Incognito a the benefit of the doubt.

    It is apparent that there is an obvious lack of leadership in that locker room.

  30. opinevain says: Nov 7, 2013 2:20 PM

    Its sad that people who don’t play football or professional sports, who sit in front of a computer like I am currently, can decide what they believe is acceptable in their place of work. The locker room can be a joyous workplace, with jokes and laughter just like an office at a Fortune 500 company. You build relationships with your co-workers and spread jokes. I’m pretty sure that whites and blacks work together, and make racial jokes all the time, depending on relationships. Its gets to a point where a story spreads like wildfire just for views and ratings. Incognito has probably used the N-word because he had that relationship with Martin. Tony Scheffler and Louis Delmas admitted to using racial epithets with one another because that was the scope of their friendship. No drama there.

  31. conormacleod says: Nov 7, 2013 2:23 PM

    Bullying may be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally. Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person
    ————————————
    It’s a simple definition, but one that does NOT include an exception for men who weigh 300 lbs, or for NFL employees.

    So, on his side, Incognito has a bunch of locker room buddies who say he did nothing wrong. While Martin, on his side, has only the law and evidence in the form of voice mails and text messages.

    Yep, this one is still too close to call.

  32. nyjetsfan08 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:23 PM

    Martin felt that there was no one in the organization he can turn to and walked away. Clearly, the GM, who is on record stating Martin should’ve punched Incognito, is part of the problem. I don’t blame him for walking away. MLK would have supported the peaceful approach of walking away, which was brought up by Whitlock this morning, even though Whitlock admitted he may have not handled it that way.

  33. steelerfanjo says: Nov 7, 2013 2:29 PM

    This story is about one thing… the Dolphins and if they tried to cover up anything. Its pretty odd that all players are jumping on the Incognito is okay bandwagon, and railing on Martin. But Roger “The Ruiner” Goodell will make a great decision, like he did with Aldon Smith (this convict is playing), so with that being said Incognito will be back by week 12.

  34. shaundolphinsfan23 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:33 PM

    This is the first well written and realistic/honest article in relations to this story.

  35. captainphintastic says: Nov 7, 2013 2:34 PM

    Congrats to Mr. Florio for a well written article on this matter. Always good when a journalist looks at all of the info and both sides of the story.

  36. beach305 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:35 PM

    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 god, 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.

  37. 12thmanseattle says: Nov 7, 2013 2:36 PM

    And let’s be honest, this kids a Stanford grad so he’s no dummy. His ability to make a ton of money as a player is limited but an emotional trauma lawsuit would pay him a whole lot for nothing.

  38. agriffchs08 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:39 PM

    The guy clearly say he’s using his own experiences, plus conversations with former teammates:

    “I’m only interested in the truth, which is what I’m going to share, from my own experiences and from conversations with friends still on the team.”

  39. almighty1 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:40 PM

    Thank GOD! The mob mentality in this situation is astounding. Luckily we don’t have yard arms randomly placed throughout the country. Something about this situation stinks on both sides.

  40. FinFan68 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:42 PM

    Dolphins rushed to judgment on Incognito, not the media.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Not really. The messages will be used as a foundation for a lawsuit regardless of whether or not they were done in jest. That word is volatile and plenty of people refuse to allow any contextual justification–and as we have all seen, it is quite easy to paint a believable picture just based on that message.

    Every action taken by Martin (more likely his surrogates) seems designed to prop up and protect a future lawsuit. By taking action against Incognito the Dolphins avoid the “see, they still don’t care/refused to handle the situation” argument. When all is said and done, IF the evidence shows that things were not accurately portrayed, they still have the option of reinstating Incognito and paying the lost wages. There is no way to recover from inaction if it is determined it should have been taken.

    It would not surprise me if that is how the suspension was presented to Incognito who has not said anything much since.

  41. bender4700 says: Nov 7, 2013 2:47 PM

    Former players/Current Players = Immediately accused of lying.

    “Source” = Instant credibility.

    Isn’t it possible that people hate Richie, will automatically accepted negative, and reject positive information about him?

    Just ridiculous how this has been handled by the media. Absolutely ridiculous.

    The ONLY people I believe are the players, and they are all saying Richie wasn’t and isn’t a bully. I take their word, not only because they PUT THEIR NAME ON IT, and because they LIVE it, not just watch from the outside wishing they were in it.

  42. steelersaregodsteam says: Nov 7, 2013 2:50 PM

    Nevertheless, we have six rings.

  43. cliverush says: Nov 7, 2013 2:53 PM

    The quality of the game is going down, witness the Thursday night games. Has the sport of football, from the high school level through college into the pros has begun to chase away good athletes with this type of locker room mentality. There are many choices now for young people to participate in sports without having to endure the currant anti social mentality displayed by many football players.

  44. deadeye says: Nov 7, 2013 2:55 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Phins end up in LA or London over this. Poor Ross, can’t get stadium funding, can’t field a winner, and now has negative press second only to the Hernandez story in it’s grotesque nature. Oh wait, Bounty Gate might have been worse too.

  45. 69finfan says: Nov 7, 2013 3:00 PM

    Mike,

    Excellent article and commentary on a very complex and difficult situation.

  46. unclebluck says: Nov 7, 2013 3:04 PM

    One thing is for sure the Fins suspended Incognito quickly and it is pretty much confirmed that the GM told Martin to assault Incognito….And we all know that the guys that run/play for the Fins know the whole story…my guess is there is much truth to Martins story and that more will come out before it is all over…….and if Ingognito is really an great guy like his “Bros” are saying and it is all a mistake and Martins fault…why haven’t the Fins said so and reinstated him…if its all that cut and dry it would be over by now……

  47. bigdaddyraven says: Nov 7, 2013 3:05 PM

    That voicemail told me all that I needed to hear.

  48. historyisyourfriend says: Nov 7, 2013 3:06 PM

    No matter what comes out of this, can we all agree that NFL players are among the most stupid people who to this day don’t seem to realize that voicemails and texts can’t be covered up?

    I mean Aaron Hernandez thought if he smashed his cellphone they wouldn’t be able to track his texts, and now Incognito left both voicemails and texts then went on Twitter to rant about how innocent he was.

    Just amazes me that in this day and age of social media these pro sports players (most of whom “graduated” or attended a major university) can’t figure out that once you hit send, you are in trouble.

  49. hawthornetheheater says: Nov 7, 2013 3:15 PM

    Joe Philbin is the party with dirty hands here. Guaranteed. He is gone as HC for the Dolphins by the end of the season.

    Why did he suspend Richie Incognito? It’s not what he wants you to think. Philbin knew the cat was out of the bag, and now he would be discovered as the culpable party. What has he done in public press conferences, and I have seen two so far, to tell me he is the one to go down? Philbin is pointing a finger at someone else and has categorically denied any responsibility. Does this seem strange? It does to me. He either is completely in the dark on what his players are doing, which is grounds alone to fire him, or he is a liar. I think the latter is clearly the case.

    His last press conference demonstrated that he is avoiding saying anything about his own involvement, and he went so far as to use the “duck, dodge and deny” strategy, or he just simply answered press questions with a statement that was totally irrelevant to the question he was asked. We see this from those who are trying not to get caught, trying to save their job, and those who know they will get in trouble if we find out what he has to do with Martin leaving the team.

    The focus needs to be on Philbin, not Incognito.

  50. tigerlilac says: Nov 7, 2013 3:16 PM

    When is it not best to keep an open mind?

  51. wryly1 says: Nov 7, 2013 3:20 PM

    Martin already won. He’s out of Miami voluntarily and Incognito is out involuntarily.

  52. kenny2neworleans says: Nov 7, 2013 3:30 PM

    Ricky Williams called it. Martin did not like the culture of the nfl. He learned from Ricky that if just walked away, he wouldn’t get paid. If he used incognito as a scapegoat, he could sue the dolphins and be set for life from a profession he knew he didn’t want to spend his life doing. Looks like all the family Harvard and Stanford degrees paid off in my opinion. He’ll be retiring a rich 20 something year old real soon!!! Beat the system

  53. FinFan68 says: Nov 7, 2013 3:33 PM

    Clearly, the GM, who is on record stating Martin should’ve punched Incognito, is part of the problem.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That is an allegation; not the GM “on record”. No context was provided at all.

    If he said that like:

    “Maybe Martin should have just punched Incognito. It shouldn’t have gotten to this level, but I will talk to both of them and I will make sure Philbin is aware and handling the situation appropriately”

    It would be viewed much differently. Right now it just seems like Ireland said “just punch Incognito” and hung up the phone. Rational people would not believe that to be the case absent a complete transcript.

  54. ilovefoolsball says: Nov 7, 2013 3:33 PM

    Very interesting comparison to the New Orleans case and when you really think about it, they are very similar in many ways.

    1. They both pulled back the shroud of locker room culture to the outside world and the outside world gasped, disapproved, and condemned.

    2. They both were initially driven by a single narrative that was not given an honest, fair chance for rebuttal before the public came to it’s conclusion.

    3. Outside of a full fledged admittance by management and Martin, Incognito (like the Saints players) will always bear the stigma that has been placed upon them (in many ways well earned) although he may have been just following the orders from those above him.

    4. They both depended on a gullible, emotionally driven public, who more than ever make up their minds on certain topics far before the actual facts are presented.

  55. beach305 says: Nov 7, 2013 3:40 PM

    Since all the players in the locker room came to Richie’s defense, now Martin is saying that there are more players that he has a problem with.

    Can’t make this stuff up.

  56. thestrategyexpert says: Nov 7, 2013 3:41 PM

    hawthornetheheater:

    Well it is possible that Philbin is a highly responsible party, but we don’t know anything yet that can adequately corroborate that theory.

    I personally wouldn’t be shocked to find out if Philbin had no idea what was going on and was only failing as a football coach due to general ignorance and being oblivious to finer details of things that are happening on his watch and under his nose. In my opinion a football Head Coach needs to really be on top of things and have an intimate understanding of how players feel and where they are at. If he’s not doing a good job at those things then that’s too bad, but it’s not the worst football crime or mistake I have seen before, and it’s certainly not fair to then say he’s responsible for the bullying if he genuinely doesn’t have a hands-on or intimate approach and understanding. I doubt any overt bullying actions are going to take place when the HC is standing right there, so it is plausible that bullying could somehow go on without the HC figuring it out.

    Philbin is one of the few members of the Dolphins who have said anything at all, let alone something that can pass as sensible for the time being. Well actually he is the ONLY one so far. He deserves some slack unless a good enough argument and evidence can come about to put the blame on him. Let’s be patient and see if he can even beat Tampa Bay otherwise he’ll have plenty of blame on him for that alone.

    And keep the focus on Ireland and the Owner for now. This is THEIR team. It’s not Tannehill’s team, it’s not Incognito’s team. it’s not Martin’s team, it’s not Clabo’s team, and it’s not Philbin’s team. This is the Ross and Ireland show, it is THEIR team and everything they do and strive for is what their vision of football is about. That’s where the focus of anybody that has a problem with anything going on in Miami needs to look.

    If you can’t figure out the right read to start with, then you’ll never have a shot of making the right pass to get to the goal.

  57. purplereign2 says: Nov 7, 2013 3:41 PM

    nyjetsfan08 says:
    Nov 7, 2013 2:23 PM
    Martin felt that there was no one in the organization he can turn to and walked away. Clearly, the GM, who is on record stating Martin should’ve punched Incognito, is part of the problem. I don’t blame him for walking away. MLK would have supported the peaceful approach of walking away, which was brought up by Whitlock this morning, even though Whitlock admitted he may have not handled it that way.

    0 0

    ———————————

    I would disagree and say that the problem isn’t him walking away (which I agree is the correct action in that situation) but that he walked away to the nearest telephone to call his lawyer. Violence is not the answer, but a grown man should be encouraged to deal with his own problems. The term bullying being applied to this situation is ridiculous, these are two grown men.

  58. robuff716 says: Nov 7, 2013 3:58 PM

    Why can’t people just stop using slurs…it not food water or oxygen! !!!!

  59. bennyb82 says: Nov 7, 2013 3:59 PM

    Every article written about a controversy should be written from the standpoint of this one. There are so many perspectives to consider and it is not always as black and white as the narrative would have you believe.

  60. dodohead418 says: Nov 7, 2013 4:01 PM

    We may not know everything about this story, but we know what Incognito character is like from the past.

  61. FinFan68 says: Nov 7, 2013 4:10 PM

    Everything Martin has done seems planned with a lawsuit in mind.

    He flips out after a harmless prank that he took part in the week before, and then went straight to the hospital. Lunch room-car-hospital. That seems premeditated and he need a prank to set the plan in motion.

    People questioned his actions because he didn’t say a word and abandoned his team, then the bullying stuff came out.

    His agent called Ireland (AFTER MARTIN LEFT) to inform him of the alleged bullying and then later released a quote from that conversation with absolutely zero context

    People said that the pranks were no different than what any other player was subjected to and Martin was not singled out, then the 8 month old message transcripts were released.

    People questioned whether he had the physical/mental qualities to be an NFL offensive lineman, then the pre-draft personality profile was leaked.

    People questioned his desire, then a report comes out saying he wants to continue his career even on another team.

    He went back to California to draft a statement for the investigation. That will likely be the only official communication until absolutely necessary. No interviews, no answering tough questions like why did you not report the messages when they happened and why were you sharing them with other teammates and laughing about it if you were so traumatized by the content?

    He has just now hired the lawyer that got Ryan Braun’s original suspension reversed. A guy that has worked within the NFL and knows the law surrounding the CBA.

    My belief is that this has all been planned to craft and protect a potential lawsuit for a guy who wants to quit the game and still get paid one way or another. Martin is looking more and more like a scam artist rather than a legitimate victim.

  62. herrcules13 says: Nov 7, 2013 4:23 PM

    Three sides to every story, and somewhere in the middle of those lies the truth. The Dolphins had enough to know only that they needed to take immediate steps to try and cover their asses against litigation by Martin…the action that they took against Incognito wasn’t an indication that they knew he’d done something horrific.

  63. peymax1693 says: Nov 7, 2013 4:23 PM

    Sorry Mike, but it seems that all the parties have already been judged, and Mr. Martin is the clear loser.
    I don’t know what happened, but I really don’t see how Martin can redeem himself in the eyes of so many that want to believe that he is the problem.

  64. tavisteelersfan says: Nov 7, 2013 4:30 PM

    One perspective I would say is hard to argue is the position Philbon is in. Imagine, Head Coach of an NFL team … one of the 32 having to cop to one of:

    I as head coach, condoned (perhaps created or initiated) the team culture that drove Martin out and Incognito into a harsh corner, or

    I as head coach no idea that the team culture would drive out Martin and put Incognito into a harsh corner.

    Which would he rather claim?

  65. gosfvr says: Nov 7, 2013 4:35 PM

    I understand that pro football is now big business and workplace laws apply, but this is at its root, a primal sport (albeit with great amount of strategy), played by men with vicious intent between the lines.
    This does not excuse Richie I’s behavior, but I do not fully understand the extreme outrage either.
    Making JM pay $15000 or whatever it was is ridiculous and Martin should have just said no, but I think there were better ways to have solved this.
    I’d question the Dolphins management more than anyone else for letting it get to this point.
    Getting court’s involved is not good for the game, let the NFLPA and NFL management sort this out.

  66. thestrategyexpert says: Nov 7, 2013 4:40 PM

    You can add Mike Wallace to the list of those that have a sensible outlook of the situation. Great interview with him to check out.

  67. djscottyb says: Nov 7, 2013 4:45 PM

    As for suspending Incognito – its better as an organization to err on the side of caution.

    Police departments do the same thing with any officer involved in a shooting – “Administrative Leave with/without pay” until Internal Affairs clears up everything.

    The press love to jump on any available tidbit to get that edge, to add to the sensationalism.
    Thank you for taking a step back.

  68. ratfreg says: Nov 7, 2013 4:49 PM

    Everyone says that they were the best of friends, and that Martin hung out with and liked Incognito. But deep down, he must have been miserable and hated the relationship, felt he needed to go along with expectations, until they became overwhelming. Most perceptive people would be able to see in the body language and the look in Martin’s eyes that he was not happy, not comfortable around Incognito. The problem is, if any of these Dolphins admit they noticed this, they will be considered somewhat guilty themselves for not reporting or trying to intervene. They do not dare admit they knew and did nothing.

  69. justinreardon says: Nov 7, 2013 4:59 PM

    What type of person takes the whole team down instead of taking responsibility for their own situation? The fact that he never went to anyone for help is absolutely nuts. What this does is opens up the debate for EVERYONE with a problem or hurt feelings going right to the lawyers and not their team representative. So now the entire franchise has to deal with this as does the fan base, etc. Basically, Jon Martin is saying that he believes that HE is bigger than the TEAM. I think this 23 year old has a lot of maturing to do because no where in life is it a cakewalk. If you want to be good or great at anything, you will have to face adversity and other people that you have to deal with and work things out with. Sometimes those people don’t play fair. You have to be strong and build yourself up by finding the strength within.

  70. McFaddensPulledHammy says: Nov 7, 2013 5:17 PM

    After soap boxing for the past four days about culture in NFL lockerrooms, manhood, bullying, law, race, racism, etc. you decide to NOW take a step back? What happened? Did Joe Philbin send someone to see you in WV?

  71. drastrozoom says: Nov 7, 2013 5:22 PM

    I’d buy this sorry defense of the media if it would’ve stuck to reporting all it knew — that the Dolphins had suspended Incognito for detrimental conduct. But no — the media has been falling all over itself to present every morsel it could as quickly as possible — whether it was incomplete (the voicemail transcript) or factually inaccurate (PFT’s own report that Ireland had suggested to Martin’s agent that he confront Incognito BEFORE Martin left the team, when it was actually AFTER).

    Your words say one thing; your actions another.

  72. oldsombrero says: Nov 7, 2013 5:32 PM

    So basically what you are saying is… “Forget every other story we have ran this week, because we have publicly crucified two men without any real knowledge of the situation.”

  73. richc111 says: Nov 7, 2013 5:37 PM

    “But at a time when the media is being accused of rushing to judgment on Incognito”, the media did rush to judgement. This stroy blew up a day before the dolphins let him go. I get a kick out media people always defending each other. I will say it AGAIN THE MEDIA RUSHED TO THE POLICALLY CORRECT JUDGEMENT.

  74. 10kmp says: Nov 7, 2013 5:37 PM

    Incognito has a history of being a problem child. Suspended at Nebraska… twice. Suspended at Oregon. Suspended while with the St Louis Rams. Voted one of the dirtiest players in the league. This guy will continue to be the person he is until someone just as tough, mean and crazy punches him right in the throat. Looking forward to that day…

  75. thejuddstir says: Nov 7, 2013 5:44 PM

    Whenever anyone’s feelings get hurt, you can bet the progressives of the world will be there to encourage them to see a lawyer. Next we’ll have PETA pounding their drums to get rid of any sports teams names that include an animal, mammal or amphibian. Ooops, sorry about using the term “pounding their drums” as the progressives will certainly interpret that as having racial overtones.

  76. aintasinner says: Nov 7, 2013 5:52 PM

    Hope the NFL doesn’t hire the same crack investigative team they hired to investigate the Saints. We all know how that turned out. By the time the whole mess was declared a disaster by the former commissioner, the Saints’ GM and head coach had already served their suspensions. Even if Tags had wanted to reverse that decision, it was too late for them and the team. However, if it turns out that the coach and management looked the other way, or even encouraged this situation in Miami, then they should receive just as harsh a punishment as the Saints organization did.

  77. balzer41 says: Nov 7, 2013 6:02 PM

    The more that comes out about this story the more I think that Martin was/is just a big pussball. Incognito might be a bit of a nutcase but I don’t really think he’s a racist since all of his black teammates are standing up for him.

  78. wyobroncoboy says: Nov 7, 2013 6:07 PM

    Justa feelin (blue lipgloss not helpin) Incognito is encouraging the first “open” player to come out,
    Thje team all support Both players because they have the mindset that the time is right

    “Not that there is anything wrong with that” I concur

    Johnathon and Richie had an agreement to be the first, as good friends. Johnathon lost the nerve…………….here we are with noone able to talk about this very very sensitive topic.
    All of which is silly to most of us NFL fans.

  79. ivanpavlov0000 says: Nov 7, 2013 6:11 PM

    First and foremost, the Dolphin’s o-line stinks. They’ve given up 35 sacks. So whatever it is that Ross, Philbin, Turner, and Incognito have been doing to build the line has been a world class failure.

    The fault here lies completely with the Dolphins coaching staff and management. Incognito and Martin should both get a free pass on everything that’s transpired.

    Claiming that Martin was conspiring to destroy the Miami Dolphins and then sue them, that this was all part of his master plan … that’s crazytalk.

    Likewise, Incognito can’t be held at fault for doing exactly what he was asked to do by his supervisors. The irony is the people who suspended Incognito are the same ones who condoned and encouraged the behavior for which they suspended him.

    The Dolphins coaching staff and management have handled this whole situation so poorly that they are the ones responsible for this entire mess. All of the players feel that they are under attack. That’s not Martin’s fault and it’s not Incognito’s fault. It’s the fault of the inept Dolphin’s management. It’s time for a housecleaning major upstairs.

    What neither the Dolphins coaches and management, or Incognito understood was the tactics that motivate maladjusted knuckleheads (like Incognito) don’t work on intellectuals like Martin.

    Martin’s crimes are expecting to work in a professional environment and going through professional channels about the problems in a completely unprofessional workplace.

    Let’s review:

    Philbin told Incognito to go after Martin (after Martin skipped “voluntary” OTAs).

    Incognito, following Philbin’s instructions left an amazingly stupid voicemail and sent amazingly stupid text messages to Martin.

    Martin complained to Philbin about what was happening and was told it would be taken care of.

    When things continued (and didn’t change), Martin’s agent contacted Dolphin’s GM Ross about the situation, who told the agent to tell Martin to punch Incognito if he wanted the harassment to stop.

    Bottom line … Incognito did exactly what his supervisors wanted him to do.

    As for the people sticking up for Incognito – as soon as he gets in trouble off the field you’ll all be kicking him while he’s down and calling him a nutjob. He’d be wise to go get some mental help and learn how to keep his head straight. Unfortunately, that kind of sane/rational behavior gets branded as weakness and unmanly.

  80. gborange says: Nov 7, 2013 6:22 PM

    If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen…… Just like Martin did. I bet though that Martin has got an ass whipping coming when Incognito comes across him.

  81. nje22 says: Nov 7, 2013 6:35 PM

    Maybe its time to step back, period. The media didnt just go along, theyre dumping truckloads of lumber on the fire. Other than hoping martin is ok, who cares about this anymore? Its overload just for the sake of giving the Mike Golics of the world something new to babble about, florios right, this wont be worked out for months. lets get on with football itself

  82. Foghorn The IKonoclast says: Nov 7, 2013 6:41 PM

    This is what happens when partial information gets out and justice is not allowed to take it’s normal path. Lives are ruined unnecessarily. I have worked in the media for around 25 years and I simply hate this driveby garbage that ruins lives.

  83. mack2x says: Nov 7, 2013 6:54 PM

    I believe Incognito is probably one of the biggest d bags in the game, but the more I read about this, the more I think Martin also has some issues going on as well and not just with his Miami teammates.

  84. coachbeck says: Nov 7, 2013 6:56 PM

    Who can be forced to pay for a trip you don’t go on. Lol. Sorry I can’t buy that any man would pay for this an not go. If e did then Martin Is weak. And will be paying for vacations his whole life. Some people deserve to be taken advantage of… Especially when they make it so easy.

  85. johnnyoclock says: Nov 7, 2013 7:29 PM

    So how come you refuse to have an open mind and not rush to anything when it comes to your Redskins obsession?

  86. Foghorn The IKonoclast says: Nov 7, 2013 7:32 PM

    coachbeck.. please leave coaching. that is the same kind of hyperbole that saying no is not enough,

  87. ningenito78 says: Nov 7, 2013 7:41 PM

    Keeping an open mind is important. Which is why publishing that report about Incognito on the golf course probably is going to start closing some minds. Especially when he wasn’t charged with anything.

  88. finfan1111 says: Nov 8, 2013 9:18 AM

    “The Dolphins rushed to judgment on Incognito, not the media.” No, the media has really given Incognito the benfefit of the doubt. Especially when a majority of current and former players assign some level of blame to Martin, and the media is 100% convinced that he was being bullied. Because there’s a voicemail and text messages with OH MY GOD profanity between two NFL players!

  89. kona8190 says: Nov 8, 2013 11:45 AM

    What are we going to learn from this? I think I will apply for a job as a NFL Locker Room Police Officer.

    Did the Problem start at the top of the NFL why blame a franchise, you are give a set of rules, is this the NFL doing what it does best, BS and Lie to the public.

  90. FinFan68 says: Nov 8, 2013 10:08 PM

    ivanpavlov0000 says:
    Nov 7, 2013 6:11 PM

    Let’s review:

    Philbin told Incognito to go after Martin (after Martin skipped “voluntary” OTAs).Speculation. Here is the story received from “sources”: ” In a new twist to the story Tuesday, at least two sources told the Sun Sentinel that Incognito was asked by unspecified coaches to “toughen up” Martin after Martin missed a voluntary workout last spring.” It doesn’t say “go after” nor does it say Philbin was involved.

    Incognito, following Philbin’s instructions left an amazingly stupid voicemail and sent amazingly stupid text messages to Martin.He did leave that message and it contains some vile stuff but Philbin didn’t tell him to do that. The transcript also purposefully omits portions of the message and provides no context, inflection, background or other clues to help determine it’s true purpose

    Martin complained to Philbin about what was happening and was told it would be taken care of. Not true at all. There has been no account of Martin saying anything about this stuff to anyone and EVERY player that has talked about this has said they were shocked that Martin had any problem with things going on. It was reported earlier this spring that Martin approached Philbin and questioned whether he wanted to play football anymore. Philbin said that there were no accusations at all to “handle”. It was a personal soul-searching kind of thing (like Ricky) and Philbin granted Martin a leave of absence back then.

    When things continued (and didn’t change), Martin’s agent contacted Dolphin’s GM Ross about the situation, who told the agent to tell Martin to punch Incognito if he wanted the harassment to stop.That call happened AFTER Martin already left. There was no exact quote given, no context. There is no way Ireland (the GM–Ross is the owner) said just that. I guarantee a full account of that conversation would be viewed quite differently.

    Bottom line … Incognito did exactly what his supervisors wanted him to do.Incognito acted in a crass and vile manner that would be unacceptable in most settings but that isn’t necessarily the case in this particular group dynamic. Incognito has no doubt acted foolishly but Martin is not devoid of blame. Had he actually said something to somebody other than his lawyers/parents all this drama would have been avoided and maybe both players would still be on the team preparing for the Bucs.

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