In the interview with Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin that aired on NBCSN on Wednesday night, Tony Dungy asked Martin if he had talked to Dolphins coach Joe Philbin about the problems that eventually caused him to leave the club in October.
“I did not,” Martin said.
As Martin explained: “It was something I didn’t feel comfortable sharing because I want to be friends with my teammates. I worked hard to be friends with [offensive guard] Richie Incognito and others. I think it’s important that I build these friendships with your teammates. That was kind of my driving force.
“I turned the microscope back on myself. ‘What am I doing wrong to be treated like this? What makes me different?’ And I’m not different from any other football player.”
Martin is alleged to have been mistreated by teammates. After Martin’s departure, the club suspended Incognito for detrimental conduct, and the NFL launched an investigation about the Dolphins’ workplace conduct. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross indicated Tuesday that the findings of the investigation will be made public after the Super Bowl.
Incognito has said he got along well with Martin.
A little later in Wednesday’s interview, Dungy asked Martin to elaborate on why he didn’t reach out to Philbin.
Said Dungy: “If you were playing for me, and you had a problem, something was going on, and I was your head coach, I would want you to come to me and talk to me about it. You didn’t feel like you had that kind of relationship with Coach Philbin? . . . It’s hard for me to envision a guy who loves football not coming to his head coach and telling him about (this).”
“It’s the level of comfort,” Martin replied. “Like I said, I worked hard, for a year and a half, to be friends with these teammates, because I wanted to play football. That’s what mattered, is to play on the field. I put this out of my mind as though this doesn’t matter, right? This isn’t as important as what’s happening on the field.
“But then, just the (persistent) nature wears you on the point where it’s like if this isn’t changing, then I have to remove myself for my own health.”
Dungy’s line of questioning is something Martin could very well face if he plays again in the NFL. It’s logical to think a coaching staff will want to talk to Martin about the events that led up to his departure, as well as how he handled the situation.