With Wednesday’s comments from Dolphins players arguably creating the impression that Richie Incognito, not Jonathan Martin, would be welcomed back to the locker room, Thursday’s statement from Martin’s lawyer may have been aimed at expediting the process.
Based on the content of David Cornwell’s explosive remarks, the goal at this point could be to get the Dolphins to release Martin.
After going public with the accusation that Jonathan “endured harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing,” suffered “a malicious physical attack” by an unnamed teammate, and heard “daily vulgar comments” including the vile quote regarding his sister, it’s clear that Martin can’t return to the Dolphins in 2013, if ever. With Cornwell also claiming that Martin intends to keep playing football, it’s fair to conclude that Martin has decided, through Cornwell, to burn the bridge back to Miami — and to build a new one to a new team.
The argument could be made that Martin’s teammates already made the bridge unusable. So why not blow it up and move on?
It’s probably not coincidental that Cornwell’s statement opens with references to Martin’s toughness and drops names like Martin’s former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and former Stanford teammate Andrew Luck. If the Dolphins release Martin, a team like the 49ers (coached by Harbaugh) or the Colts (where Luck is joined by former Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton) would likely make a claim for him on waivers.
Of course, the 49ers and Colts could lose out to teams owned by men who want to prove that they have coaches and players who wouldn’t ostracize someone who saw fit to stand up and accuse teammates of wrongdoing.
Whether the Dolphins would cut Martin during the 2013 season remains to be seen. On Thursday, long-time NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels complained on Twitter that Dolphins G.M. Jeff Ireland squatted on Rosenfels’ rights in order to keep him from joining one of the team’s on Miami’s schedule. With the trade deadline passed, Ireland wouldn’t be able to direct Martin to a franchise the Dolphins aren’t competing with or playing against.
Cornwell’s decision not to name names publicly also operates as a possible shot across the bow at any current teammates who decide to continue questioning Martin’s motives or minimizing his concerns. If they keep talking, their names could be revealed publicly as part of the alleged problem.
Of course, Cornwell’s explanation that Martin will cooperate fully with the investigation means that the names of any players who harassed Martin will be revealed privately. Which gives the players in question even more things to worry about as they try to focus on preparing to play a football game on Monday night.