Ted Wells concludes Incognito and others harassed Martin, and others

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If Richie Incognito was waiting for exoneration, he may need to wait a bit longer.  Or a lot longer.

A lengthy report issued Friday by independent investigator Ted Wells concludes that three members of the starting Miami 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.”

Wells concludes that the assistant trainer “repeatedly was the object of racial slurs and other racially derogatory language,” that the other lineman “was subject 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,” the press release announcing the report states.  “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.”

In other words, Incognito, Jerry, and Pouncey didn’t specially mean to compel Martin to abandon the team, or to otherwise harm him emotionally.  But they nevertheless did, as evidenced by the communications in which Martin was engaging with his family members

Wells plans no press conference.  “The Report is thorough and comprehensive, and speaks for itself,” Well said.

Indeed it does.  The report plus appendices fills 144 pages.  We’ll now brew another pot of coffee and read the whole thing.

64 responses to “Ted Wells concludes Incognito and others harassed Martin, and others

  1. “Jonathan Martin is a baby, what is this world coming to, blah blah blah.”

    I can’t wait to hear what the Incognito apologists have to say now. No one should have to be subjected to this garbage, in any profession or walk of life.

  2. I give no credence what so ever to this report.

    The evidence of Martin’s behavior all along during his time with the Dolphins mirrored that of Incognito and others. His texts were just as vulgar as Incognito and the rest.

    I’m not really stunned by this report, but I’m stunned that everyone seems to ignore Martin’s reported behavior during his time with the team.

    This report holds as much respect from me as Martin…NONE

  3. As far as I’m concerned, Incognito is in the clear. I saw the texts b/tw the two. As far as I’m concerned that is business as usual in the NFL. Someone got into Martin’s head and made him react the way he did. IMO, Incognito considered Martin a friend and that’s how a lot of football players treat each other…Hell, that’s similiar as to how my friends and I talked in high school. This Wells clown seems like he did a whole lot of nothing. No matter what this report says, I feel Incognito will be playing in the NFL again and Martin will have a difficult time fitting in with any team. People will have to walk on pins and needles.

  4. Bullies bully not for a specific reason but because they can and it feels good. There’s a big difference between good natured ribbing and trying to break down a person mentally. It’s all about power with bullies and only victims give them the power. IMHO, the best way to get a bully to back off is to confront them and don’t back off until they go away…even if you suffer in the process. I wonder what would have happened to Martin if he broke a chair over Incognito’s head instead of fleeing into the arms of the press. While Martin got the bullying to stop, I think he nuked his career in the process. I think I see a lawsuit in the making.

  5. Despite Wells spending many weeks investigating this with far greater access than anyone else, I look forward to how many people on here still support Incognito and pretend that they know more than Wells about this fiasco.

  6. The thing that strikes me is that it says the three lineman didn’t intend any lasting harm, which means that it appears that their “harassment” of Martin was intended to be “good-natured ribbing,” however misguided it might have been.

    That possibly speaks to Martin being “soft” or at least being viewed that way, since it’s basically saying they were just teasing him. Incognito already had a reputation as a meat-head at best, an absolute jerk at worst, so this report might actually do more harm to Martin than Incognito.

    The person the Dolphins should really be worried about is this assistant trainer who apparently was harrassed at an arguably greater level than Martin, and who we haven’t heard anything about until now. Lawsuit, anyone?

  7. “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.”

    Has this guy ever been in a locker room? Seriously I heard worse in 8th grade. They made fun of his mother and sister?? Oh the horror…Martin was doing the exact same thing.

    So in conclusion, if Incognito is saying nasty stuff about Martin’s mother or sister that’s NOT ok….but if Martin sends a text to incognito saying he’s going to kill Riche’s family…that’s ok? Solid logic there.

  8. I wonder if the harassment would have continued if Martin had punched Incognito in the nose.

  9. People forget that the Dolphins are an employer. This isnt about boys will be boys, or what is appropriate in a locker room. This is all about harrasement between coworkers. Just as my employer wouldnt tolerate it, if for no reason than the future lawsuit, NFL teams cant either.

  10. The only material evidence was in conversations between Incognito and Martin. My guess is that Ireland saw that the two guys got along, so he asked Incognito to help toughen Martin up. Then the others who did not have as solid of a relationship with Martin joined in like it was okay to bully Martin. This is a tough situation because Incognito took the fall for what Ireland probably asked him to do. Martin did not deserve to be ganged up on. It was the right move to fire Ireland and the lesson to be learned is that ganging up on someone is not the best way to toughen a guy up. It might work for some, but clearly there is a large element of risk in doing so.

  11. What’s the surprise?…pretty much went down the way both said it did…..doesn’t make it right though….

  12. Personally, I thought the text messages made public by Incognito were way too simplistically analyzed by the public. We assumed since Martin didn’t explicitly inform Incognito that he feels harassed by him, that they must have just been good buddies and this whole thing is a non-issue.

    I’ve been around guys like Incognito. Perhaps without even realizing it, he makes you uncomfortable or makes you feel harassed. It’s just part of Incognito’s personality. He’s rude, crude, and has no censor. And no, not all football players are like this.

    You can tell him that you don’t like him and that you don’t appreciate the things he says and does to you, but that will only make the situation worse. The other option is to try to manage the situation by playing his game. That’s what I think Martin tried to do. He was trying to keep the situation from getting to a point where he could no longer handle it. Obviously he failed.

    But I don’t believe for a second that Martin and Incognito were legitimate friends. I think Martin was just trying to play along because he felt threatened by the guy.

  13. Where is the HC and all the MANY position coaches, trainers, etc. while “Animal House” was happening every day? Were there NO veterans who could have demonstrated APPROPRIATE leadership qualities? This speaks very poorly regarding the entire coaching staff and their abilities to run the team.

  14. The whole thing is ridiculous. Martin, Incognito & Company should have simply dealt with each other. Instead, Martin walks away and makes a local issue a much bigger one. Then the report, politically correct no doubt, sides with Martin – apparently. Tell me, who is surprised?

    Grow up boys its freaking football. Every snap is a brawl. If someone is pushing your buttons push back until it stops. If you are getting your butt kicked every day then tell management.

    I’d take Incognito on my team before Martin, every day. If Incognito acted like a jerk then he’d get cut.

    All this BS is a waste of time and money.

  15. Martin texted back and forth vulgar statements without every letting bullying party know he wasn’t like that…he sent text messages to his work place lawyer mother to set up a lawsuit this guy wasnt gonna last in the league and he knew it. This thing reeks I hope neither of them sniff the nfl again.

  16. You mean to tell me Goodell’s lackey wrote a report that justifies the NFL’s errr…the Dolphins’ suspension of Incognito? Shocker.

  17. No matter what the job is–firefighter, nurse, professional athlete, gas station attendant– nobody should be subjected to a hostile work environment. This says a lot about the ‘”men” who used their standing on the team to demean others. It also says a lot about the head coach who knew nothing about the conditions in his licker room. Pathetic. People like Incognito are stuck in the past. It’s time for him and his buddies to mature and act like professionals. It is never OK for a white person to use the n-word. Never.

  18. so basically a Lawyer says that “yes Incognito and others harassed and bullied 2 young teammates by subjecting them to inappropriate touching and foul language” plus an assistant was offended also. Ever hear of ROOKIE HAZING? Its been going on in football since before the forward pass. so when Tebow got his head shaved and made to look like Friar Tuck was that a form of ‘bullying” or was it football players being football players and Tebow wasn’t soft

  19. does not change my opinion, the guys were joking around with who they thought were friends and none of the so called “victims” came out to say that they were uncomfortable with anything, the texts, the imidiate reactions by teammates all backing richie have told me this is nothing different than what i went through and did with my teammates and still do to some of my friends, guys being guys, it’s clear there was no malice intended. it’s clear that martin went along with it, participated in the jokes and gave out his own, how could any of the guys know there was a problem if nobody said anything. if he had a problem with it he should have 1. gone to someone other than mommy and daddy, 2. dont participate in it and make it seem everything is fine and 3. dont sit there and make it seem that he is ok when richie was constantly checking up on him and went as far to say it’s not anyone’s fault.

    if you think these kind of actions were wrong then you probably did not play sports or was part of a team.

  20. Who let incognito know that this was coming? He went twitter crazy for a reason and now we know why? He doesn’t look too good in this report.

  21. “but also finds that Martin’s teammates did not intend to drive Martin from the team or cause him lasting emotional injury”

    That says it all right there. Incognito may be a neanderthal, but he’s not necessarily the jerk he was made out to be. This proves that the NFL locker room needs to change. I hope the report has some notes about Martin trying to keep up with the insults and saying awful things right back to Incognito.

  22. In any other employment setting, the organization would be in serious legal trouble for violating Federal laws against such discriminatory and outrageous harrassment. The NFL had no problem coming down like a ton of bricks on the Saints for their alleged unprofessional missteps and it will be interesting to see if these, far more serious, offenses get swept under the rug or are dealt with through suspensions, fines and loss of draft picks. Time for the NFL to step into the light and quit talking out of both sides of their mouths; there is no room for any level of discrimination in sports that are suppose to be character building!

  23. Let me get this straight… Martin is bashed by commenters for being a baby (which he is to an extent) for not being able to take the nfl locker room. A situation which involves hazing and cursing, with a side of filthy unmentionables about one’s sister & mother, all over the fact that he is new to locker room and thus lowest on the totem pole. For some reason people are ok with this because it’s just part of the “football culture”. However, if i was to politely disagree with a person over their lifestyle, especially when I asked for my opinion, than many of these same people will considered me a hater and name calling ensues.. Talk about a double standard.

    Have your convictions, but do society a favor and be consistent across the board.

  24. I’m sure glad Ted took all this time and spent all this money coming up with a conclusion I think just about every single person in America who paid any attention to the story would have come up with in 5 minutes.

    Incognito and his compatriots are loud mouth knuckleheads with boundary issues. They took typical locker room taunting a couple of steps too far.

    They seemed to focus on three targets. Two of the three appeared to take it in stride, or at least continue functioning in light of it, one couldn’t, and left the team.

    That about sum it up? Thanks for all of your hard work, Ted. Never could have figured it out without you.

  25. Typical that a certain type of person would rush to judgement based on a tiny percentage of texts that were leaked a couple of weeks ago. In those, it might have appeared to be just two friends engaging in harmless text banter.

    Anyone with sense would understand that there was more to the story. And there still is. I guarantee you that less than 100th of 1 percent of the people who form an opinion of this case won’t read the full report. They’ll base their uniformed opinion on incomplete information, hearsay, and reporter’s take on the report. But they won’t read it themselves.

    If you read it and still come away with the opinion that Incognito was wronged, then so be it. I doubt most of you would bother though. Too easy to not do the work.

  26. Basically the report follows this script. Wells went in with the assumption that Incognito was guilty until proven innocent. For instance, Martin send incognito an image with words super imposed about him murdering Incognito’s family. Wells automatically assumes Martin is being humorous without any supporting evidence. Yet if Incognito asserted anything, it must be backed up by evidence. Martin’s account are never questioned.
    Even with that Wells is forced to admit that the “vast majority of texts messages do seem to show a mutual friendship”. Wells also never gets into how the other linemen were treated and simply because Martin felt harassed, but never complained, her was therefore harassed.
    Good luck finding another team dude.

  27. For those people that say that this is a work environment, and it is, however it is a much different climate than 99% of jobs. Other jobs don’t require physically beating each other, nor do they require they camaraderie.

    Is it right, in most cases no. However if we aren’t part of the environment we should save judgement for those that are.

    This report says that there were many other people getting abused. However, that being said none of them complained or spoke up when it came to defending Martin.

    It was also interesting that Martin took part it in, however that wasn’t mentioned. It should be interesting to see what happens with this.

  28. At the end of the day Wells would find workplace harassment in 32 locker rooms. Snapping someone in the butt with a towel constitutes a form of harassment. Taping someone to a goal post constitutes harassment. While the Dolphins players may have been more extreme the real issue here to me is how Martin handled it. At no time did Martin attempt to put a stop to it. At no point in time did Martin do what most of our MEN would do and tell the guys “leave my mother and sister out of your jokes or there will be a problem”.. At no point in time did Martin contact his union rep or anyone in the NFLPA to attempt to curb the actions. And at no time did Martin tell his GM or head coach of what was transpiring. To me Martin took the worst possilbe way out by walking out on his team, his coaches, and ultimately his fans. So while I do not condone Richie Incognito’s actions, I also do not condone the way Jonathon Martin chose to handle the situation.. He joined in and participated in some of the harassment instead of taking some course of action to stop it before it got him to the breaking point. The guy is soft no matter how you slice it. He may be the victim, but he handled it terribly by walking out.

    And for those of you who think the locker room is going to fall under the same rules as the workplace, you’ve never played football or any competitive sport, you’ve never been in a Frat or done service for our country in the armed forces. When you put a bunch of boys and testonsorine together, this is what you get.

  29. Thank you for being a football player Cogs!
    Now Ross, do the right thing and bring Ritchie back. The media will hate you for it, bu the fans will show their backing by filling the stadium.

  30. So bottom line is…we’ve really accomplished nothing here.

    Practical solution…Dolphins cut ties with Martin and Incognito and let Martin keep his full salary and signing bonuses and whatever. Martin agrees not to sue everyone.

    All parties are losers. Move on.

  31. It’s amazing how this absolutely childish behavior goes on in a place of work. These guys are giant 15 year olds. These aren’t guys hanging out at a bar. They are guys with a job acting like this at work and saying these things to one another in the work place. Miami is going to have to open their wallet for Martin and they should. The NFL needs to come down hard on the teams and players engaging in this type of behavior. It’s time for the guys who play in the NFL to grow up and learn what it is like to go to a real workplace every day. It’s time for fans who think this type of behavior is OK to grow up as well.

  32. I work in an office environment, and the guys here give this type of stuff to each other everyday. It’s a way to pass the time. Martin has no business in an NFL locker room if he can’t handle the ribbing. Come on, this is a joke.

  33. And if Wells investigated any football team in the USA from at least high school on up he would have found evidence of the exact same kind of behavior.

    Sorry folks, this is football. Rookies get hazed all the time. Rookies get badmouthed all the time. The badmouthing stops when you do something on the field to show them you are part of the team, that you can play or if you do something one on one to make a guy shut up.

    Do I agree with the language or behavior? Nope. But it is what it is. If those of you who are complaining right now don’t like it, guess what, your favorite NFL team is doing the EXACT same thing. So stop watching football and cheering for it if you have such a problem with it.

  34. sounds like a report written by a guy who’s never been in a locker room in his life and is biased from the get. Martin is soft, not a good thing for an NFL lineman. The fact every other lineman thought so speaks volumes. He needed to squash this with maturity but he’s like a little boy who doesn’t know how to act. He can’t play, he can’t handle the NFL..period. Richie and others looks stupid..true. But at least they didn’t punk out and at least they can play the game. Only a team trying to be p.c. like Ted Wells would want Martin. But they’d quickly find him to be soft and not worth it.

    I love all the libs sounding off on a topic they find complex while anyone in NFL and whose been in locker rooms finds it common place.

  35. it’s amazing how a lot of you guys think that a little locker room abuse when you were 12 makes it OK for NFL team members being paid millions to spend TWO YEARS breaking a bunch of federal and state workplace laws and completely destroying the Offensive line unit with a bunch of unprofessional behavior.

  36. Did anyone think that he was gonna go in there and say there is nothing to see here? If so you are as dumb as Martin. He had to justify his paycheck. In every locker room from now to the end of time there will be obscene banter. Hell I’m a regular guy but if you saw the way my friends and I talked to each other then you would be appalled at that too. Just get it over with. This whole thing is nothing more than grandstanding by everyone involved.

  37. Martin’s bipolar issues stated by Wells were clearly a problem in his relationship with the other players. Multible personalities that didn’t include any that resembled a football player.

  38. Sounds to me like all this bloviating on the part of Incognito just before this report was released was a really lame attempt to discredit the truth.

    Okay so obviously Martin and Incognito’s relationship was nuanced. But still, the fact that it was not only Incognito, but also Pouncey and another person engaging in this is sickening.

  39. Why Florio is the best:

    What other NFL “insider” is going to roll up his own sleeves and read the whole document, instead of having some ‘legal interns’ give summaries in layman’s terms?

    You think Peter King is doing this? Schefter? Glazer?


    I’ll read every GD word you write about it, because I know you did the work YOURSELF.

    Go get ’em Florio.

  40. It’s really impossible to know exactly what was going on without being in the Dolphin’s locker room and knowing Martin and Incognito because you can’t know the whole story just from texts without context. This whole situation may be overblown and Martin isn’t completely innocent, but just knowing Incognito’s track record, hard to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  41. This is a big step forward for the NFL. It means that being a goon is not the same as being a man. Athletes don’t have to act like 7th graders with too much testosterone. The NFL is a place where the best athletes compete in sport instead of seeing who sits in the deepest gutter. Now let’s clean up the attitudes of those ‘institutions of higher learning’ that sent those morons to the NFL in the first place.

  42. to all of you still supporting Incognito and saying that the texts Incognito himself leaked back up his BS story, tell me this- why didn’t Incognito leak the texts damning his actions (i.e., texts ordering someone to destroy evidence)? If he were truly innocent, why not FULL disclosure instead of picking and choosing only those texts that paint you in a better light? Incognito is and always has been a violent, dirty player. Obviously he is that way on and off the field.

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