Dolphins' Coaches Reportedly Told Richie Incongito to Toughen Up Jonathan Martin
I just wrote about the brewing scandal involving the Miami Dolphins and the alleged bullying of offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. Apparently, the situation contains further wrinkles that we're just learning today. The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel has reported that Dolphins coaches told teammate Richie Incognito to toughen Martin up, though Incognito may have taken the instruction too far:
Sources say that communication took place when Martin skipped two days of the team's OTA program, and Incognito was encouraged by his coaches to make a call that would "get him into the fold," one source said.
Even though OTA workouts are voluntary, the NFL culture forces coaches to strong arm the team's leaders to make sure everyone attends. Sources say Incognito was doing his job, but they admit he crossed the line.
Incognito spoke out to the press for the first time this week, telling a local reporter, "You know what, I'm just trying to weather the storm right now... this will pass."
Other Dolphins players, though supportive of Martin, say he should have spoken out sooner.
Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe indicated that Martin should have come to the leadership council with his problems, which apparently carried over to his second season. The problem is Incognito was also on the leadership council, and possessed a tremendous amount of power and influence.
That might explain why Martin hid his issues with Incognito, and on occasion hung around with him in South Florida, and during road trips. It is possible Martin felt he had to do so to feel accepted.
Martin remains on the team's 53-man roster, and his teammates have indicated that they would welcome him back when he is ready to return.