On Nov. 2, 2013, Miami Dolphins right tackle Jonathan Martin walked away from his team, citing severe bullying from fellow lineman Richie Incognito as the reason for his departure. To read the first article on the Incognito bullying scandal, refer to the Nov. 15, 2013 issue of The Lawrentian.
Since this date, an abundance of developments have complicated this national sports saga. Many of these developments are centered around a report commissioned by the NFL on Nov. 6. Ted Wells, a distinguished criminal attorney, was hired by the league to complete an investigation and written report on the potential bullying and harassment that occurred within the Miami Dolphins organization.
Wells’ report was released to the public on Feb. 14, 2014. As expected, the Wells report indicates strong evidence supporting claims of bullying from Incognito towards Martin. On top of that, Wells’ investigation revealed a few previously unknown factors.
1. Martin’s interactions with Incognito displayed many characteristics of a bully-victim relationship. Incognito has consistently argued that both he and Martin made derogatory remarks and used the same racial slurs, saying at one point, “That’s how we communicated, that’s how our friendship was.” However, the Wells report states that it is common for victims of bullying to adopt the instigators’ aggressive behavior as a defense mechanism.
2. Martin was not the only member of the team who was harassed. Another, unnamed offensive lineman and a member of the Dolphins training staff experienced similar treatment.
3. While Incognito was the main perpetrator of bullying, he was not the only one. Fellow offensive linemen Mike Pouncey and John Jerry, along with offensive line coach Jim Turner, all displayed “a pattern of harassment.” The report also claims that the three individuals often acted together to target the aforementioned individuals.
Following the report’s release, Incognito returned to the forefront of sports news. It is still unclear how the Dolphins organization and the NFL are planning to respond to the Wells report. Both have expressed the desire to foster a more professional environment on and off the field.
Meanwhile, the details of the report are still being reviewed, and even challenged by some. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross found the report “deeply disturbing” and vowed to “address the issue forcefully.” However, Incognito’s lawyer, Mark Schamel, described the report as being “replete with errors.” In addition, several Dolphins players have voiced their continued support of Incognito. The wide array of responses to the Wells report culminated on Feb. 27, 2014, when Incognito smashed the front of his Ferrari with a baseball bat in front of his Scottsdale, Ariz. home.
Shortly after that, Incognito checked himself into a rehabilitation facility. When asked about the incident, Incognito said, “Oh that was just me venting, that was self expression, that’s a piece of art. The happiest day of my life was when I got that car and now the second happiest day will be when I donate it to charity.” Incognito recently had his suspension lifted by the Miami Dolphins and will be a free agent heading into the 2014-15 NFL season.