The Miami Dolphins' players, at least those talking with reporters, have sided with indefinitely suspended offensive guard Richie Incognito following allegations that he bullied and made racially-charged comments to teammate Jonathan Martin, who left the team after the incidents.
Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline said Martin laughed about and played the racially-charged voicemail from Incognito to Martin.
“The people that can hurt you the most in this world are the people that are the closest to you,” Hartline told reporters. “This was the same guy who was laughing about the voicemail once upon a time.”
Meanwhile, lawyer Ted Wells was appointed to investigate the Dolphins' situation.
The Dolphins have declined to comment on reports from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Dolphins coach Joe Philbin and his staff told Incognito to “toughen up” Martin.
Pro Football Talk reported that Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland suggested to Martin's agent, Rick Smith, that he should punch Incognito.
I“I think that what’s perceived is that Richie is this psychopath, racist maniac,” offensive tackle Tyson Clabo said. “The reality is that Richie was a pretty good teammate, and that Richie and Jonathan Martin were friends.”
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was unaware of the situation.
“If I had any idea that it was an issue or he was struggling, of course I would have constantly checked on him to see if he was OK,” Tannehill said of Martin. “But you can’t help a situation that you didn’t even know existed. No one on this team knew it existed.
“Everyone’s attacking the locker room and saying there was no leadership because they didn’t stop the situation. But no one knew there was a situation to stop.”
Is Incognito a racist who uses racially-charged language, including the N word?
“I have never heard him say it around me,” offensive guard John Jerry said. “I would have just laughed it off if he had. He’s a guy I’m with more than my own family, so I know what type of guy he is, and he’s not a racist.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.