Dolphins Martin May Not Be Back
By Brian Miller
The case of Miami Dolphins Jonathan Martin is not going away. Rumors have floated persistently this week that at the center of the “bullying” controversy is Richie Incognito. Richie says he is not to blame and has said that he has spoken with Martin since the cafeteria incident. The entire case is blowing up and stands to rattle any positives the Dolphins currently have going their way. It’s simply a case that will not die but one that may see Martin never returning to the team.
For starters or for the latest, the Dolphins are set to place Martin on the non-football injury list. What implications that has for the season I do not know but it takes him off the roster and will allow the Dolphins to fill his 53 man spot. So what exactly is going on down there? Well rumors are all we know at this point but it appears that money could be at the center.
To understand what is going on now we need to know what happened last week that led to his departure. What was once thought of as a practical joke gone wrong suddenly becomes nothing more than the icing on a layer cake. And yes, there are a lot of layers. So what we absolutely know is that Martin threw his tray down and left the facility after several of his teammates got up and left the table telling him they didn’t want to sit with him. That’s the icing. This is the cake.
Richie Incognito has been reported to have been at the center of some of this. A claim he refutes. The Dolphins lineman had made arrangements to go to Las Vegas and each lineman was to pony up 15K for the trip. Martin didn’t want to pay because he didn’t want to go. The rumor goes that Incognito pressured him into paying the money with bullying tactics. Eventually Martin caved in and paid the 15K but still did not go on the trip with the other lineman. There has been other issues reported as well.
Some in the mainstream media maintain that the Dolphins 2nd round pick of a year ago will not sell out the source of his problems within the locker room due to a fear of retribution from that person. The NFLPA backed off it’s “investigating” stance and the Dolphins released this statement two days ago.
"“The Miami Dolphins, including Coach Joe Philbin and Jonathan’s teammates, have been in communication with Jonathan and his family since his departure from the club and continue to be in contact. Our primary concern for Jonathan is his overall health and well-being. As an organization, we take any accusations of player misconduct seriously. The notion of bullying is based on speculation and has not been presented to us as a concern from Jonathan or anyone else internally. The reports that the NFLPA is investigating our players are inaccurate. Additionally, the NFL offered its assistance during this time, which we appreciated and gladly accepted. We will continue to make Jonathan’s health and well-being a focus as we do with all of our players.”"
Regardless of their position something is going on with Martin. He was supposed to return to the team on Saturday but did not. It appears to have escalated since then. Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald “Tweeted” the following:
"Adam Beasley @AdamHBeasley 34mWhen I talked about anger, dysfunction last week, this is what I was referring to. This issue extends far beyond the Martin situation.Adam Beasley @AdamHBeasley 38mRecently, a younger player was handed the tab for a $30,000 team dinner. The rookie minimum this year is around $400.000.Adam Beasley @AdamHBeasley 39mThey’ve gotten sucked into the Miami lifestyle, and the veterans are using the younger players as an ATM, I’m told.Adam Beasley @AdamHBeasley 39mOne young defensive player, whose privacy I’m protecting, has literally gone broke because he’s been pressured to pay for older players.Adam Beasley @AdamHBeasley 40mI can now report this: This is a HUGE issue inside the Dolphins’ locker room, and not just limited to this situation.Adam Beasley @AdamHBeasley 40mI reported last week that there were other issues, with resentments being harbored between other players. It’s about this.Adam Beasley @AdamHBeasley 41mJust got off the road, and saw Schefter’s report on the $15,000 allegedly gotten from Martin for a trip to Vegas."
Apparently Adam Schefter of ESPN also got into the finger pointing towards Incognito. Schefter surmised that Martin won’t return to the Dolphins until, presumably Incognito, is dealt with. Incognito has responded VIA Twitter directly to Schefter.
"Richie incognito @68INCOGNITO4h@espn@CBSSports@NBCSports@FOXSports@ProFootballTalk I want my name CLEAREDView details · Richie incognito @68INCOGNITO4h@AdamSchefter Enough is enough If you or any of the agents you sound off for have a problem with me, you know where to find me#BRINGITView details · Richie incognito @68INCOGNITO4h@espn shame on you for attaching my name to false speculation. I won’t be holding my breathe for an apologyView details · Richie incognito @68INCOGNITO4h@AdamSchefter This is the second time you have tried to drag my name through the mud with with liesView details · Richie incognito @68INCOGNITO4h@AdamSchefter Stop slandering my name. You hide behind “sources” who are not man enough to put their name behind the BS you reportView details ·"
I wish I could say that it ends there but unfortunately it doesn’t. On the NFL Today show Bill Cowher took a shot at Joe Philbin blaming him for the mess in the locker room. It appears that the Dolphins are becoming a punching bag. Still the reality remains that no one knows exactly what has happened. The ones making accusations are not revealing their sources and of course Martin for his own reasons isn’t saying anything.
The one certainty is that Martin may not be returning to the team any time soon if at all and it’s very possible that Incognito may or may not be at the center. On his locker in the teams training facility, a placard hangs on Richie Incognito’s locker, it says, “There are two things that Richie Incognito does not like. Taxes and Rookies.” The Rookies is bold and large. Of course Martin is not a rookie.
In regards to the money it’s not uncommon for NFL veterans to hose a younger player out of money. Rookies are often fleeced with large dinner bills as a kind of hazing for their first NFL check. It is often taken too far as Beasley referenced in is “Tweets”. Earlier this year it was reported that one rookie shelled out 30K for a dinner party hosted by Jared Odrick. These things are common knowledge around the NFL and in other work places. At then end of my fire rotations for paramedic certification I was expected to cook steak dinners for the firehouse I was assigned to. And I did. It was a nerve racking feeling for someone who at the time was a student knowing dinner was going to be expensive.
An NFL locker room has to be 100% different than that high-school or college locker room but we are learning that even as adults childish behavior still exists and apparently whatever the core circumstance is for Martin, it’s showing that behavior for all to see. Of course there is no way of telling what actually happened and what is being fed to the media. It’s hard to trust a group who’s sole job is to create controversy to sell their wares.
This incident is far from being over and in fact is likely only touching the surface of a wave we have yet to see but whatever is going on, our hopes are that Martin finds the help he needs and that if in fact this is going on within the locker room, the person who is at the center of it should be moved out.