Report: Coaches Asked Incognito To Toughen Up Martin
DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The ongoing Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin/Miami Dolphins trouble took another turn Wednesday morning when multiple reports said Incognito had been told by coaches to “toughen up” Martin.
But Incognito refused to comment on the issue when asked by CBS4 Sports’ Kim Bokamper.
In a series of text messages with Bokamper, Incognito told CBS4:
“It’s all good, I understand, I’m not making a comment yet.”
“Yes, I’m good, weathering the storm.”
When asked if Bokamper could talk to Incognito on camera, but off the microphone, Incognito replied, “No.”
The reports, from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Palm Beach Post, said that coaches came to Incognito as a leader and asked him to help Martin become a tougher player. According to the Post, “there was a general understanding among coaches…that Martin, a second-year player from Stanford, was “too soft.”
The Post further reported that some Dolphins officials believe “that Incognito is being blamed unfairly, but that the team was forced to suspend him,” once the contents of voicemails left by Incognito for Martin were leaked to the media.
Incognito has been publicly supported by several of his teammates of both races, despite the racial slur he used in the voicemail left with Martin. ESPN’s Cris Carter said Mike Pouncey told him he has support and sadness for Incognito.
“They’re looking at the situation and they know it’s chaotic. But they realize their locker room was not that way before last week,” Carter said on ESPN. “They believe there are things that have been done that shouldn’t have been done. But as far as Richie Incognito and how they feel about him…They don’t feel as though he is a racist. They don’t feel as if he picked on Jonathan repeatedly and bullied him.”
Carter continued, “But if they could do it all over again, there would be situations that they might change. They are very, very comfortable with Richie and think its very sad that not only is Jonathan is not on the football team but also that Richie is being depicted as a bigot and a racist.”
According to the Sun-Sentinel, the threatening voicemails are not new and instead came when martin skipped two days of the team’s offseason training activities. That’s when Incognito was reportedly approached by coaches to try to get Martin to get in line with the team, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The Palm Beach Post report released Wednesday also detailed what led Martin to walk away from the team last week. Martin had been struggling at left tackle and was moved to right tackle before the team’s game against the New England Patriots on October 27.
Martin played poorly in the game against New England. The next day as a prank in the cafeteria, “as soon as he (Martin) sat down at the lunch table, teammates already seated got up and left. Other Dolphins said this was a routine joke,” the Post reported.
Martin has claimed he was harassed by the team and both the Dolphins and the NFL have launched investigations into the claims. The offensive tackle has turned over voicemails and text messages to both the league and the team as part of the investigation that purport to show the harassment.
Martin, a former Stanford tackle, has reportedly returned to Los Angeles to be with his family and receive treatment following the harassment. Before leaving for California, Martin reportedly sought treatment after he left the Dolphins facility and was visited in the hospital by Fins head coach Joe Philbin.
Incognito was suspended for four games for conduct detrimental to the team, which is the maximum punishment under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Despite multiple chances to address the situation, Incognito has refused to comment. Last Sunday, Incognito lashed out at ESPN on Twitter for linking him to the reports on Martin. He has yet to address that or any of the other issues.
The Dolphins have Incognito under contract until the end of the season and have Martin under contract for the next two years after this season.