Press release announcing release of Ted Wells report

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Ted Wells, co-chair of the Litigation Department at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (“Paul, Weiss”), has released his independent Report to the National Football League concerning allegations of workplace misconduct at the Miami Dolphins. The Report is publicly available at

Mr. Wells was retained by Commissioner Roger Goodell on November 6, 2013. The Report is the result of an independent investigation led by Mr. Wells into allegations that the abrupt departure of Dolphins starting offensive lineman Jonathan Martin on October 28, 2013, midway through the season, was the result of persistent bullying and harassment by some of his teammates.

Paul, Weiss has conducted a comprehensive investigation, aided by full cooperation from the NFL, the National Football League Players Association and the Miami Dolphins. Paul, Weiss reviewed thousands of voluntarily produced documents, including text messages, emails and team policies, and completed more than 100 interviews, including interviews of all Dolphins players and coaches, key front office personnel, and the team’s owner and chairman.

Said Mr. Wells: “The Report concludes that three starters on the Dolphins offensive line, Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at not only Jonathan Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman and an assistant trainer. The Report finds that the assistant trainer repeatedly was the object of racial slurs and other racially derogatory language; that the other offensive lineman was subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching; and that Martin was taunted on a persistent basis with sexually explicit remarks about his sister and his mother and at times ridiculed with racial insults and other offensive comments.”

“The Report rejects any suggestion that Martin manufactured claims of abuse after the fact to cover up an impetuous decision to leave the team. Contemporaneous text messages that Martin sent to his parents and others months before he left the Dolphins—which have never before been made public—corroborate his account that the persistent harassment by his teammates caused him significant emotional distress. The Report concludes that the harassment by Martin’s teammates was a contributing factor in his decision to leave the team, but also finds that Martin’s teammates did not intend to drive Martin from the team or cause him lasting emotional injury,” said Mr. Wells.

“Consistent with my prior practices involving similar investigative reports, it is not my present intention to hold a press conference or comment further about the Report. The Report is thorough and comprehensive, and speaks for itself,” said Mr. Wells.

19 responses to “Press release announcing release of Ted Wells report

  1. to the man wielding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    i can say what i want to even if i’m just kidding.
    i can ignore what i want to even if i’m pretending.

    is this ‘harassment’ identified by wells a football problem? or it is not a problem at all? are there similar instances of stuff like this happening in the military? congress? baseball? hospitals? insurance?
    health care? cable tv?

  2. This is going to end up costing the Dolphins. They will likely have to pay Martin for the entire season, even the games he did not play, and may find themselves on the hook for his entire contract, whether he returns to the team or not. Then there is the possibility of other compensatory as well as punitive damages if Martin decides he can not return to the Dolphins so long as Incognito, Jerry, and Pouncey are still there and he does not get signed by another team. The Dolphins may also find themselves in a position where they have to take punitive action against Incognito, Jerry, and Pouncey or run the risk of serious legal problems should any of these three start harassing anyone else.

    It will be very interesting to see what, if any action the league takes against these three in light of this report. I would imagine that there is a good chance they will face suspension by the league, although I do not know what the length of that suspension might be.

  3. This would look a whole lot worse if those messages hadn’t been released last week. Now, it just looks like Wells had his report done ahead of time without all the information. Without question, the delay in the release was in the hopes people would forget about those messages. Wouldn’t be surprised if he had to tone down parts of the report, as well.

  4. I’m nullifying that verdict. It’s a PC judgment for a corporate world with the media watching. it’s not relevant to an NFL locker room full of typical jock fools. This was all taken so out of context to play to Martin and his lawyer trying to cover Martin’s going AWOL after his play declined and he risked voiding his contract. It’s akin to repeating a comedian’s stage routine in a corporate boardroom and seeing how much trouble it would stir up.

    Martin’s done in the league. Incognito is a crude doofus, but NFL players know who has their back, and Incognito was never said to be a bad teammate in the trenches. Martin and his agent, however, are now unmasked as frauds who will gladly throw anyone under a bus for their own advantage – and the NFL players know that.

  5. Strongest evidence anywhere yet has been those messages between Incognito and Martin. The guys were clearly friends, even after Martin left the team. Pretty hard to explain that away and this supposed investigation doesn’t even seem to try to do so. You get the vibe that this report was largely written weeks ago and that the conclusion was given to Wells before he even started.

  6. Everyone’s argument supporting Incognito is that it’s status quo for a locker room. Martin should’ve beat them up if he didn’t like it, or left because he knew what he was getting into. When are you Chachi’s going to understand that just because it’s status quo doesn’t make it right. Anyone in a normal job wouldn’t be able to get away with what happens in their office. Just because it’s a business that employs over paid meat heads does not excuse it from civility or the law. This culture that allows murderers, rapists, wife beaters, drug addicts and the like to represent its franchise needs to change. It needs to conform to the standards that the rest of us conform to, which is that of respect for those around you. Everyone that thinks Incognito should be allowed to act this way should have the same abuse thrust upon them at work, and then have the added pressure of the high intensity, high scrutiny, that NFL players face everyday at work. For God’s sake people, these are human beings not demigods that live a seperate set of rules.

  7. mogogo1 says:
    Feb 14, 2014 3:19 PM
    Strongest evidence anywhere yet has been those messages between Incognito and Martin. The guys were clearly friends, even after Martin left the team. Pretty hard to explain that away and this supposed investigation doesn’t even seem to try to do so. You get the vibe that this report was largely written weeks ago and that the conclusion was given to Wells before he even started.
    I suggest you actually read the report. It covers the texting extensively.

  8. “I suggest you actually read the report. It covers the texting extensively.”

    I have read it. And while it covers the texting, it’s still extremely tough to get to their conclusions without basically forgetting about key parts of the texting. To whit, early on Martin’s agent said they’d extorted money for a trip to Vegas he didn’t even attend. That was one of the most striking details because it was several grand. Yet, the texts have Martin telling Incognito he didn’t want to pay and Incognito promptly replying to the effect “no big deal.”

    When this thing started I couldn’t wait for Incognito to get nailed because I hated the guy. But there simply isn’t any evidence. And what evidence there is contradicts Martin far more than anything Incognito has said.

    NFL locker rooms aren’t PC and no doubt there were tensions on a struggling team where a high round draft pick like Martin was playing so poorly he ended up losing his starting job to a journeyman. Were guys giving him a hard time? I’m sure they were. But whether it was him just not being able to stand the heat in the kitchen or some vendetta against him is not at all clear and I lean towards the former over the latter.

  9. And, everyone thinks that the NFL is ready for a openly Gay player. Let me make this real clear. This goes on in every football lockerroom. I was the victim and the perpertator in highschool. It’s just the way things are done. I’m a black man. but this time I can’t go with the PC group. Football is a man’s game. If you can’t deal with it then don’t suit up.

  10. I Am more disturbed about the sharper revelations.
    Best of luck dolphins, you’ll be rebuilding the o line for years

  11. I hope this goes a long way to cleaning up the act of vile, disgusting bullies that have no place in locker rooms, offices, schools, neighborhoods, or any place else. This behavior is so sickening, it should not be condoned anywhere. If it means that some abusive, nasty, racist, disgusting athletes get kicked out of football, hockey, baseball, whatever, that is fine with me. Let them get a job cleaning toilets which is a higher level of work than they deserve.

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