MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In an exclusive interview with former NFL coach Tony Dungy, now an analyst for NBC and is an outside adviser for the Miami Dolphins looking into the allegations of harassment, Jonathan Martin said racial and aggressive talk made by multiple teammates played a role in him leaving the team.
“It was comments, specific comments of a racial nature, aggressive, sexual comments related to my sister and my mother,” Martin told Dungy sparked his problems. “I spoke with my teammates, former teammates in other locker rooms, across the NFL and asked if this stuff goes on, is this normal rookie hazing and the consensus was this is not normal.”
Martin was in his second year with the team when he chose to leave in the middle of the season. Dungy asked Martin if the problems could be blamed solely on former Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito? Martin said it was bigger than just his former teammate along the offensive line.
“It was more than one (who harassed him). I think it was the culture,” Martin told NBC. “I don’t think there’s a place to disrespect people in a professional sport. Offensive linemen are like a brotherhood.”
Martin said it wasn’t just him that “got it” when speaking of rookie hazing. He said other teammates had similar treatment, but that he couldn’t say why he may have “gotten it more.”
“I have no problem with the normal hazing that goes on in the NFL,” Martin told Dungy. “You get a haircut, stuff like that…little pranks. But of a personal, attacking nature, I don’t think there’s any room for that.”
Dungy, in an interview with NBC after excerpts from the interview aired, said what he saw from text messages and other items was beyond the scope of any hazing he had seen in an NFL locker room.
Martin said that he did mention that he was having problems saying, “Members of the organization knew that I was struggling.” Martin was asked by Dungy who, specifically, did he talk to about the issues that were causing him problems.
“I had some conversations with the coaches immediately above me,” Martin said. “I didn’t get into specifics. You’re not supposed to “snitch” on your teammates. I didn’t see it as my place to go above the heads of the leaders on the offensive line and talk to my coaches about my teammates.”
Martin said he never spoke of the situation with head coach Joe Philbin about the problems he was having with the team. When asked about the text messages that were going back and forth between Martin and Incognito, Martin agreed with Dungy saying the text messages were a sign of friendship.
Even though he’s still on the roster, Martin said he has not talked to anyone from the team since he chose to leave. Head coach Joe Philbin said after Martin left that he had spoken to him and others associated with Martin about the situation.
Regardless, Martin will not be back with the Miami Dolphins next season. Owner Stephen Ross was asked by CBS4 if Martin and Incognito would return next year and he said, “No,” before quickly retracting that and saying that one was a free agent and one was still on the roster.
The Dolphins reportedly hoped to trade Martin during the offseason, but now that the word is out that the Fins are likely to part ways with Martin anyway; it may be difficult for the team to get any value out of Martin in a trade if teams know he will be released at some point.
“I understand opportunities in the NFL are fleeting and I hope to get another opportunity in the NFL,” Martin told Dungy. “I’m going to make the most of it because this is what I love to do.”