Exclusive: Dolphins LT Bryant McKinnie Weighs In On Wells Report
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just before Jonathan Martin left the Miami Dolphins, the team acquired left tackle Bryant McKinnie in a trade. McKinnie was in the locker room for a short time with both Martin and Incognito and shared his thoughts on the Wells report, the locker room culture and the Dolphins to CBSMiami.
“It’s a very long report, 144 pages, I guess based off what they put together, they’re saying that Incognito and those guys weren’t trying to push him (Martin) out,” McKinnie told CBS4. “Maybe he could have communicated, even with myself, or you know Coach Philbin or Turner to express what was going on and why he felt a certain way and maybe things could have worked out a little better.”
McKinnie joined the Dolphins shortly before a final incident caused Martin to walk away from the team. From the time McKinnie was in the locker room, he didn’t see harassment, but said Martin could have seen it differently.
“I looked at it like it was just a joke. I never took it as someone was being harassed or felt any type of way so I never thought it was anything too bad with the situation,” McKinnie said. “Obviously you never know what people are going through. I guess he was keeping a lot of stuff inside and eventually people will snap when they keep it inside and get frustrated.”
In the aftermath of Martin leaving the team, McKinnie said that everyone tried to find Martin and help bring him back to the team.
“Immediately when he left, everyone called his phone and texted him, but it was going to voice mail because they were trying to reach out to see if he was okay,” McKinnie said. “That was the immediate reaction to the incident when he left. After that, when everything came out, it put people in awkward positions. They really just wanted to fall back from the situation and see what would happen from there.”
In the Wells Report released Friday, Coach Joe Philbin was exonerated, but the report took issue with some of offensive line coach Jim Turner’s actions. McKinnie said neither coach is responsible and he had no problem with Coach Turner.
“I don’t hold Coach Philbin or Turner responsible for incidents that take didn’t take place in the locker room. You can’t hold them responsible definitely for things that are taking place outside the locker room,” McKinnie said. “What’s going on in the locker room sometimes, if people feel they are joking, I don’t think that that’s something that he would be made aware or because it was nothing he felt was kind of harmful at the time. If he was made aware of it, he probably would have been able to stop it.”
McKinnie continued, “My time with Turner was great. I didn’t see anything that showed me any signs of Turner encouraging or doing anything with the situation. I don’t feel like him or Philbin had any clue to the extent of what was going on with the whole situation.”
McKinnie also spoke highly of the Dolphins organization which he believed handled the entire incident “well.”
“The team still moved forward and it brought the team together and win a couple of more games and get close to making the playoffs,” said McKinnie. “I don’t look at it like a black eye for the organization and at the end of the day; we’ll see if those guys will be back or not.”
Finally, McKinnie tackled the biggest issue facing Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito, and the 31 other teams in the NFL: which player will be brought back into a locker room first?
“I think out of the two, who will have a harder time coming back into the locker room might be Jonathan because people will feel like, ‘I don’t know how I should talk to him or how I should treat him,’” McKinnie said. “From that standpoint, I don’t think Richie will have a hard time because a lot of people look at it as it’s just a guy thing and that’s just something that goes on in some other locker rooms as well. So, I think if anyone it would be Jonathan has the harder time and people might categorize him as being soft.”