Friday, July 11, 2014

Inquiry says Incognito, 2 others harassed Martin

February 15. 2014 12:01AM
Associated Press

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NEW YORK — Two other Miami Dolphins offensive linemen joined Richie Incognito in bullying Jonathan Martin, and at least one other lineman and an assistant trainer were also targets of the vicious taunts and insults, according to a report ordered by the NFL.

The report released Friday said John Jerry and Mike Pouncey followed Incognito’s lead in harassing Martin, who left the team in October, about not being black enough, threatening to rape his sister and calling him a long list of slurs.

Martin’s agent Kenneth Zuckerman said his client feels “vindicated” by the report and plans to continue playing football.

“He feels a great sense of relief,” Zuckerman said. “Jonathan Martin is a great man and he’s only shown me that he is very honest since the day I met him. He loves football and is eager to get back on the field, regardless of what team he plays for.”

Incognito’s attorney Mark Schamel released a statement calling Wells’ report “replete with errors” and said that Martin “was never bullied by Richie Incognito or any member of the Dolphins’ offensive line.”

Martin has two years remaining on his rookie contract with the Dolphins but his future with the team remains uncertain. Martin declined interview request through Zuckerman.

Incognito was suspended in November, but Pouncey and Jerry remained starters throughout the season.

Another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer also routinely came under attack from the trio. Neither was identified in the report.

Lawyer Ted Wells released his 144-page report Friday.

The report said Martin was subjected to “a pattern of harassment.”

Wells says his inquiry found Martin was taunted and ridiculed almost daily. After Martin left the team in October, Incognito boasted about “breaking Jmart” in a notebook the linemen used to tally fines and bonuses among themselves. When the investigation began, Incognito asked another player to destroy the book, but investigators obtained it.

The other harassed player was “subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching,” while the assistant trainer, who was born in Japan, was subjected to racial slurs.

“It was not difficult to conclude that the Assistant Trainer and Player A were harassed, but the questions raised in Martin’s case were more complex, nuanced and difficult,” the report says.

Martin told investigators Incognito joked that he and other teammates would rape Martin’s sister, a medical student none of them had ever met. Incognito also called Martin various racial slurs, made jokes about slavery and routinely demeaned Martin for not being “black enough.”

The report said Pouncey and Jerry followed Incognito’s lead.

The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin abruptly left the team Oct. 28. He was briefly hospitalized and then joined his family in California and underwent counseling for emotional issues. Incognito was barred from the season’s last eight games.

Incognito expressed regrets about the racist and profane language he used with Martin, but said it stemmed from a culture of locker-room “brotherhood,” not bullying.

According to the report, Martin was particularly offended over the three men talking openly in front of teammates about wanting to have sex with his sister.

The report said Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey repeatedly and persistently made graphic, sexually explicit comments about Martin’s sister.

The report also found that Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey donned traditional Japanese headbands that featured a rising sun emblem on the anniversary of the 1941 attack that brought the U.S. into World War II and jokingly threatened to harm the assistant trainer as retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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