Not long after it became clear that Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin believed guard Richie Incognito was the primary culprit regarding the harassment of Martin, we reported that former G.M. Jeff Ireland suggested to agent Kenny Zuckerman that Martin should have physically confronted Incognito.
The report generated by Ted Wells addresses this wrinkle, based apparently on our report.
Both Ireland and Zuckerman were asked about the situation, but the report says the accounts of the two men “differ sharply.” Ireland said that he “casually remarked that if a schoolyard bully constantly takes one’s milk money, perhaps ‘fisticuffs’ would be in order.” Ireland explained that he wasn’t advocating actual violence, and that the comment was “taken out of context and distorted by the media.” (Yes, it’s always the media’s fault.)
But Zuckerman interpreted Ireland as being “quite serious” by suggesting that if “Martin simply [had] attempted to punch out Incognito or otherwise engaged him in physical violence, Incognito would have understood Martin’s objection and would have stopped the behavior.” Zuckerman, per the report, “strongly disagreed” with the idea that Ireland was merely offered a hypothetical.
The report likely throws Ireland a bone by not making a “credibility finding” because the question isn’t “central to” the investigation. The court of public opinion can make its own conclusions regarding whether Ireland would use the term “fisticuffs” as a metaphor for something other than, you know, fisticuffs.