What's going on with the Miami Dolphins?
What We Initially Heard
When the story originally broke I remember hearing that Jonathan Martin had left the team following an incident in the cafeteria. Apparently, as he sat down to eat with the rest of the offensive lineman, they all stood up and left him. This seems to have been the straw to break the camel's back as Martin then became very upset and left the facility.
Soon after this occurred, reports began surfacing that this was not an isolated incident, and was in fact a repeated pattern of harassment towards Martin. We also heard that several younger team members were being forced by veterans to pay for expensive dinners and that some of the players had gotten caught up in the Miami lifestyle. Rookies paying for dinners is nothing new to the NFL, but one report had a dinner tab at $30,000, which is quite a chunk of change. It appears that these topics have taken a backseat to the news that fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito was the ringleader of the bullying. It also came out that Martin was approached by Incognito to pay for a Vegas trip that Martin was not planning on attending. Although he didn't attend Martin paid $15,000 for the trip.
Reports That Surfaced In the Following Days
With each passing day, more and more information came out about the story. Initially, the Dolphins had put out a press release saying that they knew nothing about Incognito or anyone else on the team bullying Martin. Incognito was also very defensive, using his Twitter to call out ESPN reporters such as Adam Schefter and assuring everyone that the rumors were false and the truth would soon come out. The team's tone changed very quickly as that evening they put out their third press release of the day, saying that Incognito had been suspended indefinitely and that the team had asked the league to review the matter.
Over this span of time there were reportedly various text messages and a voicemail that Incognito had sent to Martin, that Martin had saved. While at this time nothing has been released publicly, a transcript of the voicemail that Incognito left for Martin was released (I have included it below):
"Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of s---. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s--- in your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. F--- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."
While Incognito will surely say that this message was said jokingly and was just trying to get Martin pumped for the reason, it does not read this way, and is very offensive. The only way that we may ever know is if the audio is released publicly, and I would be surprised if this happened.
What We've Heard
- Coach Philbin had no knowledge of the situation
- Martin had taken part in walkouts on teammates
- Martin should have confronted Incognito
- Martin and Incognito were friends
The Most Recent Events
In the last few days a whirlwind of reports as well as opinions from coaches, players and commentators have surfaced. All of this combined brings me to my main point: I have no idea what is going on with this situation.
Below I have listed the most puzzling news that we have heard recently, what further questions I have about each, and what I think the answers are.
The Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin told reporters that he never heard anything about bullying and that Martin never approached him about being bullied.
Is Philbin lying or did Martin never really approach him? I think that Martin never approached Philbin, either because he didn't trust him or because he felt that it would make the situation worse. This brings up a more concerning matter: How can the head coach of the football team not know what is going on with his team? It's the head coach's responsibility to know what is going on with the team, and for him to have no knowledge of this situation is unacceptable.
It was reported that the "walkout" that the offensive lineman pulled on Martin in the cafeteria was done routinely to the last person from a position group to sit down at the table. It was also reported that it was done in good fun and that Martin had done this to teammates many times before.
If this was done so often, why did Martin get so upset about it? If he had taken part in this many times before then he should know exactly how fun or not fun it really was. I think that Martin took part in this in an attempt to fit in with his teammates and that by the time it occurred to him he was so emotionally distressed he couldn't handle any sort of prank.
Many people are suggesting that Martin was a big guy who was about the same size as Incognito, and should have stood up for himself. Some have gone as far as to say he should have punched him.
While I agree that Martin should have stood up for himself, I don't think that starting a fight with Incognito would have been the answer. I think that if they had fought and Incognito got the best of Martin it only would have made the situation worse. But where were Martin's teammates in all of this and how could they have not known this was going on? It also came out that Martin's agent informed Dolphin's GM Jeff Ireland prior to leaving the team to inform him how Martin was being treated. Ireland's response was that Martin should punch Incognito. Really Ireland? That's the way that you feel the situation would have best been handled? I think this is a great example of the dysfunctional organization that the Dolphins are currently running.
Dolphins teammates have mentioned that Incognito and Martin were friends.
This is the strangest of all to me. Were they really friends? Was Martin just pretending to be friends? Is Martin positioning all of this as some elaborate scheme because he no longer wants to play football? I find it hard to believe that Martin and Incognito were actually friends with all that has come to light, but the more we hear the more it makes me question Martin.
Who's Side Are You On?
I think this saga is far from over. I'm convinced that information will continue to leak out for weeks and only then will we have a true painting of the picture that allows us to truly know where we stand on the matter. Some have already decided whether they back Martin or back Incognito. What do you think? As far as my opinion goes, I'll reserve judgment for now, until I have the full story. Buckle up ladies and gentleman, I believe this crazy story has only just begun.