Three days after the Dolphins’ locker room sent strong messages of support to guard Richie Incognito and no messages of support to tackle Jonathan Martin, reporters returned to the locker room and, for the first time, a player on the team publicly has said he’d welcome Martin back.
Via Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, the endorsement came from cornerback Dmitri Patterson.
The well-traveled veteran, undrafted the same year Incognito joined the NFL as a third-round draft pick, joined the Dolphins in 2012, the same year Martin arrived.
“Definitely, I would,” Patterson said regarding whether he’d welcome back Martin.
Patterson is the first player to swing the door open for Martin. It could take plenty more before Martin would ever be able to walk back into the locker room.
Cornerback Brent Grimes said merely that he hopes the situation ends soon. “I can’t escape this,” Grimes said. “I was trying to watch Comedy Central last night and they had something on this sh-t.”
Grimes presumably is referring to The Daily Show, which put the situation under the microscope with the same blend of humor and common sense that it brings to every topic that lands in Jon Stewart’s radar.
The fact that the story has landed on Stewart’s radar confirms how big it has become. The next question is whether it continues to have legs even after a Sunday of games.
Given that it has crossed over from sports story to a mainstream news story, it’s safe to say that this one will remain in the public eye at least until Martin’s future with the team is decided, Incognito’s future with the team is decided, and the NFL issues its reports and metes out any discipline and announces any and all changes to locker-room culture and conduct.